Farmers on P.E.I. were invited to a field day this week to explore the idea of growing industrial hemp.
Representatives from across the country were on hand to share their knowledge of the industry. Hemp can be used to make paper and textiles, as well as food products like hemp hearts and oil.
'The net value of this crop is definitely positive.' - Hemp grower Matt Ramsay
Industrial hemp varieties are members of the cannabis plant family, as marijuana is, but contain very low levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC. However, growing hemp requires a licence from Health Canada.
Matt Ramsay is growing about four hectares of hemp in Hamilton, P.E.I. He said the relationship of the plant to marijuana has created some stigma.
"What we're realizing is there shouldn't be any stigma associated with this," said Ramsay.
"The net value of this crop is definitely positive, relative to any of the more negative ideological concerns."
Statistics from Health Canada show very little hemp has been planted on P.E.I. in the past. Between 1998 and 2011 there was none in all but four years, with a peak year of 16 hectares in 2009.
A plant breeder who took part in the field day said hemp could be viable crop on the Island, given weather and soil conditions and proximity to buyers.
Matt Ramsay is growing hemp in P.E.I., not Ontario.Aug 19, 2015 9:17 AM AT