First commercial hemp licence issued

Published

The development of a new commercial plant industry in the Northern Territory (NT) has taken another step forward with the NT Government granting the first commercial hemp licence since the Hemp Industry Act 2019 came into effect in May 2020.

The Hemp Industry Act 2019 created the framework to regulate the development and operation of a commercial hemp industry in the NT, facilitating investment and capitalising on emerging market opportunities.

Industrial hemp differs from regular hemp species in that it possesses less than one per cent of the psychotropic drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and if consumed, has no psycho-active effects on people.

It can be cultivated for seed, fibre or grain production, and has many uses including manufacturing textiles, rope, paper and hygiene products. Hemp seeds are also considered an emerging superfood as they are highly nutritious.

Granting the first licence so quickly after the Act coming into effect is a positive sign for this fledgling industry and the Territory’s agriculture sector.

Hemp is a versatile, environmentally sustainable and profitable product and the Territory has a competitive advantage in this emerging industrial market, with the potential to produce a viable dry season seed crop and supply this to the rest of Australia for summer planting. The ability to plant two crops for Territory farms each dry season increases the potential return to farmers, with hemp grain currently trading at a farm-gate price of around $3,000 per tonne.

For more information on industrial hemp licences, go to the Northern Territory Government website.

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