Industrial Hemp Licences in Canada: Who Needs One?

With a wide range of applications in textiles, construction, food, and more, the importance of understanding the legalities surrounding hemp industry is paramount. One critical aspect is the industrial hemp licence in Canada.

What Is An Industrial Hemp Licence?

An industrial hemp licence is a permit issued by the Canadian government that grants businesses and individuals the legal authority to cultivate, process, and sell industrial hemp. These licences are regulated under the Cannabis Act and the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR).

What Is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, with one key distinction from its cousin marijuana: it has a low concentration of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” experienced by marijuana users. In Canada, industrial hemp is defined as having a THC concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

Who Needs An Industrial Hemp Licence?

Now that we know what an industrial hemp licence is, let’s delve into who needs one. In general, anyone involved in the cultivation, processing, or sale of industrial hemp in Canada must obtain a licence from Health Canada. This applies to:

Cultivators: If you plan to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes or research, a licence is required. This includes individuals, corporations, and cooperatives.

Processors: If you intend to process industrial hemp for producing seeds, fibres, or derivatives, you need a licence to ensure compliance with Canadian regulations.

Researchers: Researchers planning to study industrial hemp for scientific or academic purposes must also obtain a licence, even if they don’t plan to grow the plant themselves.

Importers and Exporters: If you are involved in the international trade of industrial hemp, whether it be seeds, fibres, or derivatives, a licence must be secured to import or export the product.

Retailers: Although retailers don’t need a separate licence to sell industrial hemp products, they must ensure that their suppliers hold valid licences for cultivation or processing.

Obtaining An Industrial Hemp Licence In Canada

Obtaining an industrial hemp licence in Canada involves a thorough application process, and applicants must demonstrate compliance with various regulatory requirements, including security measures, record keeping, and reporting. Getting help from an experienced legal team is important to ensure that your application meets all of the necessary requirements.


In conclusion, an industrial hemp licence is an essential legal requirement for those involved in the cultivation, processing, or sale of industrial hemp in Canada. Understanding the importance and process of obtaining a licence is crucial for anyone looking to enter or expand in this rapidly growing industry.

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