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Lorna Milne, Senator
Ottawa, K1A CA4

October 13, 1999

Senator Milne's Statements


Ottawa, Ontario – I rise today to direct attention of the Senate to the current situation facing a Canadian company and a young Canadian Industry. Kenex Limited of Chatham, Ontario is becoming a leading processor of industrial hemp. However, this has recently become severely compromised by the United States Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.

I became aware of the problem after I wrote to several of my industrial hemp contacts in September, inquiring on this year’s crop. The response I received from Mr. Jean Laprise, President of Kenex Limited was not what I had hoped for.

Mr. Laprise had been of great assistance to me when I first became involved with industrial hemp legislation. At the time, it became obvious to me that the United States market was a strong reason for permitting the farming of industrial hemp in Canada. Despite having a huge market for raw and finished hemp products, the United States prohibited the farming of hemp. The U.S. market for years has been dependant on overseas imports.

More recently, several states have passed legislation encouraging hemp as an industrial crop and I would like to reiterate a point I made in my speech to the Senate last November. Once a manufacturer gains market share, they tend to keep that initial advantage. So it behooves Canadian producers and manufacturers to gain and entrench their market share before the Americans get started.

The United States market accounts for 95% of Kenex’s business. One company is a two billion dollars a year company that has been using hempseed from China in their mixes for several years now. Kenex’s August shipment of birdseed to this company was seized by U.S. Customs. The shipment was accompanied by documentation verifying its sterilization and THC analysis. The birdseed is “sterilized hemp grain” which in not a controlled substance regardless of the THC content. That aside, the Kenex hempseed is fully legal under Canadian law, it has less than 0.001% THC. Canadian law allows for up to 0.3% THC in sterilized seed. Mr. Laprise told me that “THC traces cannot be found in our products unless the laboratory has the capabilities of testing for THC in parts per million and, even at that level of testing, THC traces cannot be found in most of our products.”

It is my understanding that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is working on the situation. I will be monitoring the developments closely and hope to hear some good news for Canadian farmers very soon. (END)

Contact: Sen. Lorna Milne (613) 947-7695 & fax (613) 947-9589
C. Penn, HIA Secretary
Hemp Industries Association
PO Box 1080, Occidental, CA 95465
Tel: 707 874 3648 Fax: 707 874 1104
Websites: &

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