What to Know

The Legal Stuff and Production Contracts

Industrial hemp is an annual crop, seeded in regions where you would find peas, cereals, and other oilseed crops. Hemp is an oilseed crop that grows best in climates with cool spring seeding temperatures and long, dry, and warm summer days.

Hemp is planted with a seeder in late spring (May/June) and harvested with a combine in fall (late August/early September).

To grow hemp in Canada, two things are mandatory:

1) Certified seed
In agriculture terms, seed is what you plant and grain is what you harvest. Hemp farmers must buy what’s called certified seed for seeding each year. (Farmers cannot keep the hemp grain that was harvested and plant that the following year). All hemp planted in Canada is non-GMO.

2) License from Health Canada
To grow industrial hemp in Canada right now, farmers need a license from the Canadian Government. To obtain a licence, farmers must provide (among other information) GPS coordinates of the field that they plan to grow hemp on.

Currently, hemp isn’t considered a commodity like many other crops. There’s no open market where hemp yields are traded. It’s STRONGLY recommended that farmers sign a production contract, which is offered by manufacturers like Manitoba Harvest, and guarantees a market for the farmer’s crop.

Industrial Hemp Outside of Canada

Legislation around growing industrial hemp differs by country. Industrial hemp has played a crucial and interesting role in American history, however, hemp farming in the U.S. hasn’t yet been brought back on a federal level. The times, they are a changing…

On February 7, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Agriculture Act of 2014, the Farm Bill, into law. Section 7606 of the act, defines industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and authorizes institutions of higher education or state departments of agriculture to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs (only in states where hemp is legal).

Heading into the 2016 crop year, thirty-six (36) states are able to take advantage of the hemp research and pilot program provision. Six of those states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Tennessee) had research crops in 2015. That year also saw licensed hemp farmers in Colorado, Oregon, and Tennessee. Check out the status of each state here.

Check out what’s happening with industrial hemp around the globe:

Region Countries Status
North America Canada Legal to grow & sell
US Legal to sell, limited pilot programs & in process of full legalization.
Mexico Legal to sell
South America Chile Legal to grow
Peru & Paraguay Legal to sell
Northern Europe Ireland Legal to sell
Finland In process of legalizing growing hemp
Great Britain Legal to grow & sell
Southern Europe France Legal to grow & sell
Spain Legal to grow & sell
Portugal Legal to grow & sell
Italy Legal to grow & sell
Eastern Europe Austria Legal to grow & sell
Netherlands Legal to grow & sell
Hungary Legal to grow & sell
Poland Legal to grow & sell
Romania Legal to grow & sell
Russia Legal to grow & sell
Slovenia Legal to grow & sell
Ukraine Legal to grow & sell
Western Europe Germany Legal to grow & sell
Netherlands Legal to grow & sell
Switzerland Legal to grow & sell
Australia Australia Legal to grow & sell for textiles and beauty (but not yet human/food consumption)
New Zealand Research? In process?
Asia Japan Legal to sell (small plot grown exclusively for imperial family)
Korea Legal to grow & sell
Thailand Legal to grow & sell
China Legal to grow & sell
Africa Egypt Legal to grow & sell
South Africa Legal to sell (textiles only) & in process of legalizing growing
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Fun Fact!


Japan has a religious tradition that requires the Emperor to wear hemp garments, which is why only a small hemp plot is grown just for the Imperial Family.
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