Canadian Alliance in search for new executive director

Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance logo

The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) has embarked on a search for a full-time executive director to replace part-time director Kim Shukla, who has left the organization, the Alliance said in a release.

“As new regulations open the door for industrial hemp to provide key natural health products to Canadians and globally, our organization is preparing for significant growth,” CHTA President Russ Crawford said in announcing the search. “Hemp is coming of age in Canadian agriculture.”

Canada’s potential

With a modernized regulatory regime, the Canadian agricultural hemp industry is poised to grow to $1 billion in sales by 2023, creating 3,000 new jobs over the next five years, CHTA said in the release

Coming changes in Canadian cannabis regulations including an Industrial Hemp Regulation require a full-time executive leader as hemp stakeholders turn their attention to the potentially lucrative opportunities in CBD under the anticipated new rules, and as CHTA grows, the Alliance noted.

Push for clarity on CBD

Part of a broader Cannabis Act covering both marijuana and hemp, the new regulations would allow farmers to sell hemp flowers and leaves – parts of the plant required to process CBD which have heretofore been illegal to harvest in Canada. The CHTA, farmers and even Canadian doctors have pushed for clear rules on CBD, citing the sector’s economic potential and the promise the compound has shown in treating certain maladies. Most notable, Canadian hemp proponents point to the U.S. CBD market, where sales are predicted to reach $2-3 billion over the next 4-5 years. U.S. CBD product sales in 2016 were estimated at just $202 million, according to Hemp Biz Journal (USA).

Criticism over draft rules

But some rules in the draft regulations have been criticized. The Act as now drafted would require licensed growers of hemp to gain additional permits to process and market CBD, limiting the sale of flowers and leaves to the 20 or so Canadian companies licensed to process and sell CBD – primarily those that are already processing medical marijuana in Canada.

Limiting sales to a select group of processors will constrain farmer-sellers and constitutes “an extreme regulatory burden,” Shukla told Marijuana Business Daily (USA) late last year when she was still CHTA Executive Director. “It’s important that farmers are able to sell their crops however they choose, and that is not possible under this proposal,” Shukla said at the time.