Because hemp is classified taxonomically as Cannabis sativa, Canada’s hemp production is regulated by Health Canada. Producers and manufacturers who want to work with hemp must obtain licenses from Health Canada in Ottawa.

In order to grow hemp or manufacturer hemp products you must have a license. Health Canada license forms and information are located online here.

Producers are only allowed to plant certified seed – there is no “common” seed. All hemp planted must be an approved variety, all of which have less than 0.3% THC in them in field. (Contact Health Canada for annual seed list)

It is a requirement of Industrial Hemp Regulations that all commercial hemp crops be planted using only Certified Seed. Seed saving and the use of Common Seed are currently NOT allowed under current regulations. Seed Merchants must provide valid Certified Seed Tags to Farmers: Farmers and Processors must be able to provide valid Certified Seed Tags to Inspectors on request. Keeping good records on seed sure helps protect quality in the hemp industry, acting as a check against the emergence of less than desirable genetic traits, such as THC content, population of males and the protection of valued genetic ones, such as oil, protein, and EFA content.

The Canadian Industry initially grew varieties that were imported and were of European origin. In recent years, Canadian plant breeding programs have developed a number of high yielding cultivars that are suitable and adapted to a wide range of growing conditions.

The most common varieties thatare being contracted and grown in Canada presently are Alyssa, Anka, CRS–1, CFX–1, CFX–2, Delores and Finola.

While hemp has a reputation for being easy–to–grow, harvesting the taller, high fibre yielding varieties has been challenging for some operators. In regards to fibre, industrial infrastructure to process the fibre is just being established. However, there is no lack of facilities for processing the seed. While fibre hemp has large potential, hemp production to date has necessarily been geared on the seed side.

There are no registered pesticides associated with hemp, and the crop can be grown chemical free. The market is very sensitive to this issue. A good part of Canada’s hemp production is Certified Organic. The highest seed yield recorded to date has topped 2000 lbs per acre; an average yield is between 600– 800 lbs an acre, but rising. Farmers and researchers are working on optimum crop rotations that would give hemp the best yields and promote healthy soil for the future. Ongoing breeding programs are also working on boosting yields.

Some excellent crop guides for cultivating hemp have been published by several provincial ag departments:

  • Saskatchewan – Click to view crop guides
  • Alberta – Click to view crop guides
  • Manitoba – Click to view crop guides
  • Ontario – Click to view crop guides
  • British Columbia – Click to view crop guides