Regulation of industrial hemp seed

Cultivation of industrial hemp has been permitted in Canada since 1998 and is currently regulated by Health Canada under the Cannabis Act. Health Canada licenses the cultivation of hemp under the Industrial Hemp Regulations.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) regulates the import, export, certification and grading of industrial hemp seed under the following acts and regulations:

Cultivation, sale, import and/or export of industrial hemp seed

Anyone wishing to cultivate industrial hemp is required to obtain a licence from Health Canada. Providers/sellers, processors, importers and exporters of hemp seed or viable grain (not fibre) also require a licence from Health Canada.

Seed importers are required to have a permit to import industrial hemp issued by Health Canada. Additionally, each imported shipment of seed requires a phytosanitary certificate, and if the import is from outside the continental United States, a CFIA import permit issued under the Plant Protection Act. Seed exporters are required to meet importing country's requirements.

Our role in the regulation of industrial hemp seed

With respect to the administration of the Industrial Hemp Regulations, our responsibility is limited to the provision of pedigreed seed crop inspection and an advisory role in determining the List of Approved Cultivars.

The CFIA's Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations and Plant Protection Act and Regulations regulate industrial hemp in the following ways:

  • delivery of the pedigreed seed crop inspection system:
    • Industrial Hemp Regulations stipulate that hemp seed must be of pedigreed status
  • delivery of the Registered Seed Establishment program:
    • hemp seed must be conditioned in a Registered Seed Establishment in order to maintain the pedigreed status of the seed
  • the labelling requirements in the Seeds Act and Regulations apply to seed of industrial hemp
  • industrial hemp seed sold in Canada must be graded with a Canada pedigreed grade name. The purity and germination standards that apply are listed in Table IV of Schedule I of the Seeds Regulations
  • import:
  • hemp is not subject to Variety Registration in Canada
  • the production of pedigreed status seed is facilitated by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association eligibility for certification (Form 300) process

Additional government and industry information