Canada’s hemp market is about to skyrocket under new regulations that allow the nation’s farmers to use the plant’s flower for cannabidiol extraction.
The proposal has farmers and cannabis companies scrambling to capitalize on the change.
Canadian hemp currently can be used only for seed and fiber, with the leaves and flower unusable for CBD extraction without a special license from the national health agency.
The proposed hemp regulations in Canada’s larger marijuana plan – expected to become law next summer – would also allow hemp farmers to sell the flower and leaves to licensed processors in the marijuana market.
Because only trace amounts of cannabidiol are found in hemp stalks and seeds, much of the value of Canada’s hemp crop currently goes in the trash.
Market estimates for the value of hemp-derived CBD in Canada are limited, but researcher Jan Slaski of InnoTech Alberta has predicted the overall Canadian hemp industry could be worth $1 billion a year by 2023.