Article by David Brown, Lift News
As Health Canada’s medical cannabis access program, the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) evolves in fits and starts, one of the recent casualties has been the ability of licensed producers to use foliar-based nutrient applications.
For those unfamiliar with the process, foliar feeding is a way of applying nutrients directly to the leaves of the plant via a spray. This allows for a more rapid uptake of nutrients than through the soil and roots, and can allow for minor corrections in nutrients beyond the basics (NPK: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus), to strengthen the plant.
This process is not uncommon for plants of all kinds, and cannabis is no different. And prior to a recent pesticide scare, it was not an uncommon practice for some licensed producers of medical cannabis. But after the recent pesticide scare with Mettrum and Organigram, Health Canada has taken a new interpretation of their rules around foliar feeding, saying it’s considered an ‘additive’.
In response to request from Lift earlier this year, Maryse Durette, Senior Media Relations Advisor for Health Canada explained:
“Recently, Health Canada has received a number of questions from licensed producers requesting clarification as to what fertilizers may be used in the production of medical cannabis, and how they may be applied. The department has confirmed that fertilizers and supplements can be applied to plants via their roots, provided that the fertilizers and supplements are used as labeled, and are not applied as a foliar spray. Section 18 of the ACMPR specifies that marijuana must not be sold or provided with any additives. Foliar sprays are not permitted to be used in the production of medical cannabis, as the use of a foliar spray is considered an additive under the regulations.”
This point, however, is disputed by some within the industry.
Section 18 of the ACMPR states that marihuana and cannabis Oil: ‘must not be sold or provided…with any additives…” and defines ‘additive’ to mean: “…anything other than marihuana, but does not include any residue of a pest control product or its components or derivatives unless the amount of the residue exceeds any maximum residue limit specified for the product, component or derivative under section 9 or 10 of the Pest Control Products Act.”