Right now, licensed cannabis producers in Canada are mandated by Health Canada to destroy any part of the plant that is not the harvested buds. However, many producers believe these waste products could prove to be quite useful.
Former Minister of Health for British Columbia and current vice-president of corporate social responsibility at cannabis producer Hydropothecary, Terry Lake, says there is currently a lot of unnecessary waste in the cannabis industry.
"We're growing like 3,000 kilograms to a 108,000 kilograms each year, that's an awful lot of waste," Lake told CBC. He says all of this left over product could be used to make clothing, feed animals or producing construction supplies.
"The stalk could be used as a reinforcer for cement, another use of hemp fiber, or could be used as insulation."
Shawn McDougall, production manager at BlissCo says that one of main things many people who grow for personal use do is juice the leftover plant. A process which BlissCo CEO Damian Kettlewell says he hopes to break into once edibles are legalized in Canada, alongside producing distilled cannabis resin often called shatter.
"We are in the process of doing research on edibles and on vape pens, and then we anticipate there will be other high-concentrate and high-THC products like shatter available as well."
While there are a number of practical uses for cannabis byproducts, the Canadian government is taking a hardline approach on things right now. McDougall says there is myriad opportunity for products derived from cannabis waste, we just need to get there.
"There is some great future potential stuff there, but we're mandated by Health Canada to destroy and dispose," said McDougall.