Fire / Feu

 

La culture du cannabis (chanvre) au Canada

La culture du chanvre industriel est une nouvelle industrie qui fait appel à de nouveaux processus réglementaires.

Mike McQuade fait la culture du chanvre d'une manière biologique et durable; il croit que le chanvre peut vraiment aider la communauté agricole du Nouveau-
Brunswick.

Cannabis Cultivation in
Canada


Mike McQuade,
Hemp New Brunswick
June 1999

 

a.gif (364 bytes)s of March 17, 1998 it is legal to cultivate Cannabis sativa - Industrial Hemp - in Canada. Select farmers wishing to grow hemp must obtain the necessary cultivator’s licence through Health Canada. The licencing ordeal is a long and task-filled process which includes a criminal background search, using a global positioning system (GPS) to get the co-ordinates of the site, as well as using certified varieties of seeds from very clean equipment. All this is due in part to cannabis being a controlled substance.

hemp2.jpg (19562 bytes)
(photo: NBEN-RENB)


The "Regulations" governing the cultivation and distribution of Industrial hemp are as per the amendment to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act which allows for certified seeds - those consistently producing plants with less than 0.3% THC - to be planted.

Research licences are available to experiment with the THC. For those who haven't experimented with cannabis, THC is the active ingredient which gives users the "high" and is the basis of most of the medical claims. The research licences used to examine the cannabinol and cannibinidiol molecules are given based on the merit of the research and the focus of the study and therefore are more directed towards medical research studies.

In New Brunswick, a handful of farmers tried their luck at planting hemp in 1998; some were successful, and some were less than successful. Major problems financially were attributed to the relatively high seed costs, lack of information regarding the planting and harvesting procedures, and the lack of available markets. These seem to be curbed somewhat and the future looks promising for those interested in planting organically. Many sceptics and researchers are downplaying the viability of the production, and still continue to plant. One has to question the validity of the research out there today and what role industry has to play in public information.

I have been trying for 5 years to get a hemp licence from Health Canada to grow for research purposes, with little success due to the stringent criteria and the relative lack of support from the provincial Department of Agriculture. Now, after much waiting and persistence, I have received a licence to become a cultivator, distributor and possessor of Cannabis sativa without the support of the government. It is a pity that New Brunswick took 3 years to get on board with a project every other province in the country took part in. Nonetheless, it is just another indication of the hesitancy and conservatism that backed the scepticism in our "old" government.

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(photo: NBEN-RENB)


I'm looking forward to working the land sustainably. I'm ecstatic about getting my licence and working the land by hand as well, because there are too many small farms being swallowed up by the big guys and becoming polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. I want to show the farming community that you can make a living by farming on a small scale and doing it in an environmentally friendly manner. By planting and harvesting by hand we'll see what can be done as far as the economics are concerned. We may well have an argument in favour of the benefits of labour-intensive farming and the preservation of the soil. Now comes the economic test.

Apparently, despite large seed pools forming, and exclusivity deals all throughout the seed trade, there is a large demand for organically grown seeds in the western provinces. I can sell my ungrown crop with no worries, but that will simply prove that I can send fodder to market. No way! The farmer working the fields, Kim Fillmore, will be planting the hemp in Salisbury on the Cole's Island cut-off, and looking to "value-add" it right here in the province.

We can harvest a small acreage by manual labour, and still do it with the same costs as using large machinery. By keeping the tractors off the land we'll prevent topsoil compaction and erosion, and keep the quality of the soil for years to come. "How" is the crux to this problem. Hopefully with a little experimentation and a lot of faith, this hurdle will be overcome.

All human factors aside, hemp is an excellent rotation crop for farmers due to its organic return to the soil. The leaves and flowers that fall off during harvest are converted back into soil through natural processes.

Without a doubt, hemp can truly help the agricultural community here in New Brunswick. As a rotational crop, it can return a great deal of organic matter to the soil, draw heavy metals and toxins out of the soil, and. most importantly. this crop can be used to ease our over-taxed forests and coal mines as an effective textile and fuel source. If and when Hemp becomes a mainstream commodity such as lumber and grain, it will certainly have its ranks with the best of them.