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WHEREAS Canada is one of the world’s largest hemp producers, growing an estimated 138,000 acres in 2017; and
WHEREAS the Government of Canada is beginning to allow cannabidiol (CBD) extraction from hemp concurrently with the development of regulations for adult-use recreational cannabis; and
WHEREAS on April 18, 2018, the Government of Ontario announced changes to regulate cannabis below 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (hemp plant and its derivatives) within the authority of agriculture, setting the tone for change across the county; and
WHEREAS this movement would be welcome news for many Canadian hemp farmers, entrepreneurs and investors providing a strong market advantage for hemp-based CBD products in North America;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta to classify industrial hemp as an agriculture product.
Brazeau County has been an advocate for economic diversification through the development of the bio-economy in Alberta, including the development of a hemp cluster in the region. It has been working in partnership with the Alberta Hemp Alliance and supporting and educating farmers, entrepreneurs and investors on the many opportunities this ancient crop has to offer.
Recently, the Government of Ontario passed Regulation 327/18: “Non-Application of Act to Certain Cannabis and Cannabis Products” specific to industrial hemp. Ontario is the first province to pass this regulation and we urge Alberta to be the next to strengthen this movement across the country in support of economic development and market leader advantage in North America.
A link to Ontario Regulation 327/18 is attached for reference: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r18327.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is encouraged by the growing interest in industrial hemp. We recognize hemp as an emerging value-added crop opportunity for our province. Alberta ranks in the top two of permitted industrial hemp acres in North America with 44,684 of permitted acres in 2017. Alberta also possesses industry-leading research and development capacities, a supportive business environment, plus excellent logistics and transportation networks.
Industrial hemp is regulated federally under the Cannabis Act via the Industrial Hemp Regulations. Our understanding is Ontario’s regulation has exempted industrial hemp-related activities from Ontario’s Cannabis Control Act. This allows federal industrial hemp license holders to exercise their licenses without contravening provincial law.
Alberta’s Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act is drafted in a manner that allows federal industrial hemp licensees to exercise their licenses. This means Alberta does not require additional regulation. There is also no need to specify hemp as an agriculture product through provincial legislation. Other Alberta laws use the term agriculture product, but either do not define the term or define it to include all crops. This means farmed hemp is already subject to these laws.
AF recognizes the challenges faced by producers and processors as the regulatory system continues to evolve. We will continue to explore ways to support hemp producers and processors to grow this industry within the federal regulatory framework. Alberta will continue to advocate for an efficient, effective regulatory system to support economic development, ensure the health and safety of Canadians, and meet the needs of Albertans.
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General has no input, as the resolution is no longer within the ministry’s mandate.
RMA appreciates the clarification of jurisdiction from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Given that there is no provincial regulation or Act limiting industrial hemp production, reclassifying industrial hemp at a provincial level is unnecessary in Alberta if a producer is approved federally through the Cannabis Act.
RMA assigns this resolution a status of Accepted.