Hemp pedigree: What you need to know

The high-CBD flower produced by 1812 Hemp is derived from pedigree seed, as per Health Canada’s regulatory requirements under the Cannabis Act.

But what is pedigree?

The pedigree seed system in Canada is managed by the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA), a member-driven organization that has regulatory authority via the Seeds Act and Regulations, and the authority to regulate processors under the Canada Agricultural Products Act. Pedigree seed, as per the CSGA’s website, refers to “…the product of a production process designed to deliver specific plant breeding achievements to farmers and the food industry. In other words, it is true-to-type. True-to-type means all the benefits developed by the plant breeder are retained as the seed is multiplied over a number of specific number of (SIC) generations (to the Certified seed stage) from the small amount of seed developed by the plant breeder”. In short, the pedigree system ensures that the seed planted is true to the qualities represented by the named variety.

Where hemp is concerned this consistency in reliable performance is extremely important given that Health Canada mandates that no hemp variety may possess more than 0.3% THC. Untested, unproven and inconsistent seed could well lead to plants going ‘hot’ and testing over this allowable maximum, resulting in illegal, unsalable and ultimately lost crops. The CSGA system ensures a consistent approach to varietal development that generates year-on-year data validating true-to-type seed performance, and in the case of industrial hemp, allows breeders to spot potential issues with excessive THC before it can become problematic for the farmer. All hemp licensees, as a condition to their license, are subject to the requirement to plant only pedigree seed for this reason. If seed tags or crop certificate numbers cannot be produced to support the provenance of industrial hemp biomass, it may not be compliant with federal regulation, and taking custody of it could put your own license at risk.

Look for CSGA seed tags and crop certificate numbers when buying your genetics or procuring industrial hemp flower to ensure you are indeed getting what you paid for.

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