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New USDA Report Focuses On Canada’s Legal Hemp Market And Regulatory Status

Bea Brooks

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  • The Canadian market doesn’t allow CBD to be included in health supplements.
  • The FDA in the United States will likely not fully legalize CBD without congressional approval.

The United States has only recently legalized the use of hemp through the Farm Bill in December. However, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has its eyes on the Canadian market at the moment. According to reports from Marijuana Moment, the authority recently published a six-page report on the status of Canada’s legal hemp market.

Canada originally legalized hemp in the country two decades ago, according to details from Agricultural Attaché Evan Mangino. While hemp only recently gained the same status less than a year ago, it appears that both countries are facing regulatory challenges. For instance, over 70% of the 5,400 metric tons of hempseed that Canada exported in 2018 went to the United States.

In the United States, hemp farmers have stated that they’ve found difficulty in getting hempseed from Canada. However, after the USDA clarified in April that the Farm Bill allows for these imports, the issue appears to have been eradicated.

The report from the USDA only came out last week, but it also states that the majority of the hemp cultivated in Canada is used to create nonviable hempseed. This hempseed is then added to “hulled hemp seeds, hemp-based snack foods, hemp oils, hemp protein powders,” and other food products. Presently, hemp is not allowed to be used in food for livestock or pets, and CBD is not a permissible ingredient in health supplements.

Mangino wrote, “Hemp and hemp products are not currently approved as livestock feed or feed ingredients in Canada. In the future, each hemp product intended to be used as a livestock feed single ingredient (such as hemp meal, hemp oil, or hemp seeds) will require separate approval.”

He added that the current sale of health products with CBD or any other cannabinoid is not allowed in Canada. However, the hemp industry and the natural product industry are still working to change the regulatory atmosphere in the country for CBD-infused products.

There have already been proposals submitted by the Canadian veterinary associations to create a legal way for CBD and THC to be given to animals. However, with the current state of the market, this is just a phase for research. Only one company presently has approval for clinical trials on pets, specifically dealing with animals that have anxiety.

The report clarifies, “Currently, there is no legal pathway for veterinarians in Canada to prescribe cannabis-based products (including pet food) for pets.”

Even with the legalization of marijuana at the federal level in Canada, the public has been voicing desire to make CBD into an ingredient that can be included in natural health supplements. However, there are three options for obtaining CBD right now, which include:

  1. An adult purchase from a provincially authorized retailer, much like THC.
  2. A qualified patient purchase from a federally licensed seller, if they have medical approval from a health professional.
  3. An adult purchase with a prescription for CBD-based drugs, if the medication is approved through the healthcare system.

The US hemp industry has also been working to make it easier for the public to get legal access to CBD as well, as stakeholders and lawmakers request alternative regulatory options from the FDA. However, congressional action may be the only way for these regulations to be imposed, as cannabis is still considered a schedule I drug.

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