Hemp hemp hooray! Ontario distinguishes industrial hemp from cannabis in new regulations



Publication May 2018

Pursuant to a new regulation made under the Cannabis Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, (the Ontario Cannabis Act), activities respecting industrial hemp will not be regulated pursuant to the Ontario Cannabis Act.

The regulation specifically carves out from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Cannabis Act “a cannabis plant or any part of a cannabis plant whose leaves and flowering heads do not contain more than 0.3% THC w/w.” This low-THC cannabis plant is better known as industrial hemp in the cannabis industry.

As discussed in our previous update, the Ontario Cannabis Act will regulate the sale, distribution, purchase, possession, cultivation, and propagation and harvesting of adult-use cannabis in Ontario and aims to align Ontario with the federal legalization of cannabis anticipated to happen later this year.

While alternative regulations for activities respecting industrial hemp have not yet been provided, according to at least some sources, this new regulation may be “welcome news for many Canadian hemp entrepreneurs” as some may see this as “an opportunity to move forward with CBD.” Perhaps most exciting for industry is the possibility of increased market access (in Ontario at least) for hemp-derived CBD, one of the most highly sought-after cannabinoids, which happens to be plentiful in the industrial hemp plant.

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