If you're under the impression that marijuana and hemp are grown the same way, Garry Meier wants to put that notion to rest.
A recent report released by Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy about legalizing and regulating marijuana suggested Saskatchewan hemp farmers could help facilitate a successful marijuana industry if they choose to cross over.
"Whoever wrote that report doesn't have a clue about the difference between hemp for food production and cannabis for food production — which is hemp — and cannabis for the other uses, which we currently call marijuana," said Meier, a long-time Saskatchewan hemp farmer and president of Hemp Production Services.
The report states: "Saskatchewan currently has a strong industry in hemp production, which will facilitate the development of a thriving production industry for adult-usage cannabis."
According to the government, there were 400 industrial hemp commercial licences in Saskatchewan in 2015, more than any other province.
While the report also recognized pot production licences and regulations are separate from hemp, Meier doesn't agree with the notion of a farming transition.
"The same genus and species are as similar as popcorn … and sweet corn for cows," he said, adding although the two may look the same in terms of genus and species, the way they are harvested and handled is completely different.
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Industrial hemp has been used mainly in the food and fibre industry for the last 20 years, according to Meier. When you add in the THC element found in marijuana, it's a whole different ball game.
"If you're a marijuana grower you want to be as far as you can be from a hemp grower because the hemp load will contaminate your bud," he said, explaining that to have both co-exist in the same field is biologically impossible.