Stemergy: Renewable Fibre Technology

Ontario Hemp Alliance AGM celebrates 10 years of hemp production in Canada

26 March 2007

By Ashley House STAFF WRITER: Sentinel Review

WOODSTOCK - It only seemed fitting for the woman responsible for Canada's hemp industry boom to speak at the Ontario Hemp Alliance's annual general meeting. Senator Lorna Milne flew with her husband from Ottawa to attend the meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church.

“She was the front woman behind it all,” said Geofrey Kime, president of Stemergy, a renewable fibre company. “We presented the issue to her and she ran with it. Without her support it would be difficult for the hemp industry to grow as quickly as it did.”

After being labelled a controlled substance for its small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and with a resemblance to marijuana, it was Milne who headed the Senate committee that made changes to Canada's Food and Drugs Act and helped push for the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The amendments allowed hemp to be grown as an industrial crop. “You could smoke a whole acre of hemp and get nothing but a headache,” Milne said. Milne has attended OHA annual meetings in the past but was especially pleased to be in the Friendly City this year. “We're in our 10th year of when industrial hemp was legalized for production again,” she said.

In her speech, Milne presented a global overview of the hemp industry. She cited advancements in hemp widely used as fibre for clothes, vehicles and construction materials in other countries as well as Canada. She also sited advancements in hemp seeds being used as oil. “As long as oil prices continue to increase, it's looking better and better for the hemp industry,” Milne said. Canada's hemp industry is far from the initial struggle it was with 10 years ago. Though attitudes have changed about hemp and its many uses, there are new challenges facing the growing market.

For one, it is difficult to get backing from banks for start-up costs for hemp projects. As well, though hemp in fibre form has a plethora of uses, its strong make-up makes processing the fibre into products difficult. “But the OHA is researching different and more efficient ways to harvest the fibre,” she said.

The senator also received questions or concerns on how the Canadian market will compete when the U.S. finally gets licensed to grow it. But she's positive that Canada is up to the challenge. “We are already poised to create a steady supply to manufacturers,” she said adding, Manitoba is responsible for two-thirds of Canada's hemp production. Ontario had 3,200 hectares of hemp crops.

She also added the OHA research into different variations of hemp suitable for different climates will also keep them ahead of the game. “I look at (industrial hemp's growth) with a mother's sense of pride and responsibility,” she said. “I will continue to help the OHA behind the scenes at parliament in what ever way I can.”


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Stemergy bio-fiber is focused on producing and supplying renewable bio-fibres - derived from annual stem fiber plants such as flax and hemp - to the expanding global bio-fiber marketplace.