Health Canada creates exemption for hemp farmers to harvest flower

Canadian hemp farmers will be allowed to harvest the entire plant – including flower – before the Cannabis Act takes effect in October.

A new exemption issued by Health Canada last week allows farmers to harvest and store previously disallowed parts of the plant, but they won’t be able to sell it until after Oct. 17.

Previous guidance would have required farmers to discard any flower harvested before the implementation of the Cannabis Act.

“We need to experiment with harvest, preservation and storage technologies, and this exemption means we won’t waste a year – which would have been the case if we were unable to collect plant material until Oct. 17,” Jeff Kostuik, a field agronomist employed by Hemp Genetics International and chair of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance’s research committee, said in a statement.

Farmers interested in obtaining an exemption to harvest the whole plant this fall must apply for a license under the new guidance.