Hemp industry act and regulations commence

Published

Today the Hemp Industry Act 2019 and the Hemp Industry Regulations 2020 commenced, enabling the Northern Territory (NT) farming sector to work with a versatile new crop that could offer both good economic return and an environmentally sustainable product.

This legislation enables the development of an NT hemp sector, facilitating investment and job creation opportunities in regional areas, capitalising on emerging market opportunities.

The legislation permits the possession, cultivation, supply, processing and research of industrial hemp, and covers the various prohibitions, necessary enforcement provisions, offences and miscellaneous arrangements to support this.

Industrial hemp is cultivated for seed and fibre production and has many uses including in the manufacture of textiles, rope and paper. It is a highly nutritious food source, and can be a value add in products such as soap, lotion and shampoo.

Industrial hemp plants differ from regular hemp species in that they contain very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and if consumed foods and products made from industrial hemp have no psycho-active effects on individuals.

The NT may have a competitive advantage in the emerging industrial hemp market in Australia, with the potential to produce viable seed via a dry season crop, and supplying it to the rest of Australia for spring and summer plantings.

The legislation allows growing of crops for grain (for human or animal consumption), hemp fibre, or for viable seed i.e. for propagation purposes. All fibre and grain crops must test at not more than 1% THC. Crops intended for production of viable seed for propagation must test at not more than 0.5% THC.

The ability to plant two crops each dry season increases the potential return to farmers. Hemp grain is currently realising a farm-gate price of around $3,000 per tonne.

Applications for commercial and research licenses can now be submitted with all relevant information and resources.

The Department of Primary Industry and Resources is committed to promoting and facilitating the development of industries to support economic development and will continue to work with the agricultural sector to facilitate ongoing research and development.

For more information or to apply for a licence go to the NTG website.

Hemp

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