DRESDEN, Ont. — Canada’s re-laxed regulatory stance toward hemp may lead to a U.S. company investing in Ontario and Alberta.
“Canada has a remarkable regulatory advantage, and there’s good land and climate for growing hemp,” said Sam Alawieh, a board member of Creative Edge Nutrition and executive director of Hemp Technologies, which Creative Edge re-cently bought.
“They’ll not allow us to do this in the U.S.,” he said. “All you can do with hemp here is research and development for industrial hemp.”
Alawieh said the company plans to use hemp for its grain, fibre and pharmaceutical content. Farmers in Ontario and Alberta would be contracted for production.
“We call it the hemp eco-complex,” he said.
“We want to maximize usage and compete with prices for corn and soybeans.”
Canada already has a significant grain hemp industry, especially in the West. Other countries also have hemp fibre industries, but developing a competitive processing technology has proven a major challenge in North America.
Alawieh said Hemp Technologies looks to combine technologies from around the world and add its own innovations to make it work.
Hemp fibre is used to make products as varied as building material, insulation and clothing.
Pharmaceuticals can also be extracted from hemp, although regulations, even in Canada, will need to change before that can happen commercially.
Strains that are low in THC, which is the hallucinatory ingredient in marijuana, can have significant levels of other cannabinoids, Alawieh said. There is growing evidence that these are anti-carcinogenic and/or can help control pain and seizures, he added.
Creative Edge Nutrition also plans to invest in medical marijuana in Canada. It announced its intention earlier this year to build an indoor facility in Lakeshore, Ont.
The plan is to build a secure, indoor, climate-controlled facility capable of producing 1.3 million pounds of marijuana. Alawieh said Health Canada will soon list Creative Nutrition as an authorized licensed producer.
He said there is a specific investment proposal for Alberta but would not provide details.
Creative Edge Nutrition is headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan.
According to company’s website, it markets nutritional and weight management products, including those that contain hemp, as well as plant materials such as chamomile, ginger, dandelion root and green tea.