The Recent Years
The Road to Legalization
Decades passed. The time was the early 1990s. Upon learning about hemp while traveling abroad, a Canadian university student was determined to challenge the status quo. That student, Manitoba Harvest Co-Founder Martin, aligned with academics, farmers, and local government to advocate for the re-legalization of industrial hemp. Included in this advocacy group were fellow Manitoba Harvest Co-Founders Alex and current CEO Mike Fata.
Using a United Nations treaty stating low THC varieties of industrial hemp are legal, the advocacy group successfully secured a government grant to source hemp seed and undertake plant research trials. (Thanks to Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister at the time, Harry Enns, and our first ever farmer-partner, Art Potoroka who were both courageous catalysts for change). The hemp trials in Manitoba were a huge success and proved hemp crops have undetectable amounts (less than 0.003%) of THC (the chemical responsible for psychoactive effects).
After years of organized advocacy work, industrial hemp was legalized in Canada in 1998 and an industry was born! Right before the re-legalization of industrial hemp, a symposium was organized to showcase the hemp industry’s potential. At this symposium, Manitoba Harvest Co-Founders met another local hempreneur, Shaun Crew, founder and President of Hemp Oil Canada. Coincidentally, 1998 marks the year Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Hemp Oil Canada were both founded.