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Below is the part of a weekly series of benchmarks provided by the team at Cannabis Benchmarks®.
This week's Canada Cannabis Spot Index outlines the scope of the growing industrial hemp sector in Canada.
Licensed industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes first took place in 1998. While 2019 production data is not yet available, information from 2018 published by Health Canada shows that over 700 hemp cultivation licenses were issued that year, encompassing over 31,500 hectares (almost 78,000 acres) approved for hemp growing. Most of Canada's hemp production in 2018 occurred in the three prairie provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Unlike the U.S., where CBD production has been the goal of almost all hemp cultivation in recent years, most hemp in Canada is grown for seed. Canadian hempseed is then processed for use in a wide range of food products.
Notably, the Canadian government maintains a list of hemp varieties approved for cultivation in the country, with farmers limited to just over 50 cultivars in 2019.