Evidence of meeting #26 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was cannabis.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

David Hurford  Secretary, BC Craft Farmers Co-op
George Smitherman  President and Chief Executive Officer, Cannabis Council of Canada
Timothy Deighton  Director and Owner, Sweetgrass Cannabis
Jacqueline Menezes  Advocacy Consultant, Cannabis Council of Canada
Devin Dubois  Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Counsel, Blue Sky Hemp Ventures
Keith Jones  Board Chair, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
Ted Haney  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

I'll be very quick. I have just three questions and I'll ask them at the same time and leave them open for a response, as I think our committee did a great job hitting on the main issues.

First, what is the reasoning, or has Health Canada given you any responses from your communications, for why they are not willing to relinquish hemp from their jurisdiction to Agriculture Canada?

Second, what is the percentage of CBD or THC in hemp compared with regular cannabis?

Third, what is the technology for genome editing of hemp to remove the THC and CBD completely? Maybe that's a bit of help with Health Canada.

12:45 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

Ted Haney

To answer the first question, there has been no detailed or reasonable feedback on it. We do hear that the machinery of government is difficult to amend, so that's just the way of telling you that there is a high wall, so don't bother looking at it.

In particular, all producer-facing activities—licensing of producers and processors, permitting of exports and imports, data collection, and notifications of cultivation and data reporting—should most definitely move to Agriculture Canada, which has a culture and resources to be able to work with farmers, with producers and agricultural processors within an agriculture industry, which is what we are.

With respect to cannabinoid content, we're limited on all foods at 10 parts per million THC. All of our seed-based food products are less than that. All products from stocks are far less than that, and there are no cannabinoids whatsoever in roots, yet Health Canada still tries to interpret the regulations as if they are high THC.

With respect to the non-THC cannabinoids, none of them are intoxicating, none of them are habituating, none of them are addicting, and they've been studied extensively by the UN Expert Committee on Drug Dependence and they're well tolerated and don't represent any risk to human health.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Kody Blois

Thank you, Mr. Haney. We'll have to leave it at that.

Thank you, Mr. Barlow.

Mrs. Valdez, you have two minutes.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rechie Valdez Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Thank you to the witnesses for joining us today.

If any of the witnesses could submit to this committee any reports or detailed numbers about carbon sequestration, it would be very much appreciated.

I have a quick question for Mr. Dubois.

In your opening remarks you mentioned how Canada is competing with the U.S. in this space. What would be the lost opportunities for Canada if we do not remove the impediments to this industry?

12:45 p.m.

Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Counsel, Blue Sky Hemp Ventures

Devin Dubois

The biggest thing to understand, again, is that there is no economic case for shipping the industrial product stream—where the stalk material coming off the field is very high volume and currently relatively low valued—any particular distance. The value-added processing needs to occur close to the source of production, and the source of production right now is really governed by the ability to use and market seed and seed by-products.

That's what the U.S. has in its hands now. Growers everywhere, federally, now are able to produce industrial hemp seed in large volumes. Our concern is that capital is mobilizing to both address seed processing markets and the accompanying fibre markets in the U.S. Accordingly, we need to scale up our ability and to pave the way for easy production and access and processing and exporting of seed and seed by-products to foster all of that value-added processing chain here close to home.

That's the competition. If the large-scale seed processing takes hold on the south side of the 49th parallel, then the fibre processing will go there too and we'll be competing with a behemoth ourselves.

12:50 p.m.

Board Chair, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

Keith Jones

In 2017, Canada had four times more seeded acres than the U.S. Today, the U.S. is slightly ahead of Canada in seeded acres of hemp.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Kody Blois

Thank you, Mr. Jones.

Thank you, Mrs. Valdez.

Mr. Perron, you have a minute, so thirty seconds to ask a question and thirty seconds for the answer.

12:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Thank you for those details, Mr. Chair.

My question is for all the witnesses.

For my part, I think it comes down to two main recommendations. The first is that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada should be responsible for regulating hemp cultivation. The second is that we have to start by applying the existing regulations correctly.

You submitted recommendations for amendments. Is there anything else essential to be developed or added to the list before we complete our study?

June 20th, 2022 / 12:50 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

Ted Haney

Number one, I believe, is to move all of the producer-facing regulatory activities to Agriculture Canada. Number two is to seek appropriate interpretation of the Cannabis Act and industrial hemp regulations to make them consistent with the act, the regulations and the will of Parliament, which we do not believe are being respected at this time.

That, I think, will require a special study.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Kody Blois

Thank you very much, Mr. Haney.

Thank you very much, Mr. Perron.

Colleagues, that brings us to the end of the second panel. For those who are online—I think it's just Mrs. Valdez and perhaps a couple of others—could you transition quickly to the in camera portion of the meeting. We're going to provide some feedback to our analysts.

To our witnesses, thank you very much for being here today.

Colleagues, bear with us. We'll have a little bit of time to provide feedback.

The other thing I would like to say is simply to thank our interpreters for all of their work, especially as we break here until September.

Colleagues, switch over and then we'll provide some feedback to the analysts.

[Proceedings continue in camera]