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Canadian Government Support For Hemp Processing Plant

The Government of Canada is contributing CAD $5 million for an indigenous-owned industrial hemp processing plant to be established in the province of Alberta.

Situated at Elk Point, the plant will be capable of processing 40,000 tons of hemp stalk annually. This will be used in a variety of products including textiles initially and then moving into building materials, fertilizer, and paper. The plant is expected to be operational in summer of 2025.

Minister for PrairiesCan Dan Vandal announced the repayable funding would come from the Community Economic Development and Diversification fund and go to the Askiy Hemp Limited Partnership (Askiy). The initiative a partnership between Frog Lake First Nations (FLFN), and the Town of Elk Point. The partnership has secured a 13,000 sq. ft. building situated on 7.5 acres in Elk Point’s Diversity Industrial Park.

“By supporting the Askiy Hemp Limited Partnership hemp processing plant we are helping to strengthen the economy in the Elk Point area, creating quality jobs for Albertans, contributing to economic reconciliation, and adding value to Canada’s agriculture sector,” said Minister Vandal.

It’s expected the Elk Point facility will directly employ more than 45 individuals, and indigenous peoples will fill at least a third of the jobs.

“This is a great opportunity for economic growth for Frog Lake First Nations,” said Chief Gregory Desjarlais. “It will provide a large scale of opportunities in green energy, food and water sovereignty, clean transportation, carbon sequestration and sustainable projects.”

According to a USDA report, 55,400 acres of industrial hemp was planted in Canada in 2023; with 20,000 acres (36 percent) of that total in Alberta. There are approximately a dozen hemp processing companies in Canada, with most operating in the Prairie provinces.

Hemp for commercial production in Canada was legalized in 1998 after 60 years of prohibition; where it is now being grown for food, fibre and as a source of cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp is well suited to Alberta’s geo-climatic conditions; enjoying longer hours of sunshine compared to many other parts of the country. In Alberta, mid to late May is the optimum period for seeding, but up to the end of June is viable.

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is the government department that diversifies the economy across the Canadian Prairies.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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