Ministerial (media releases)
28 April 2017
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair has welcomed a decision today to approve low THC hemp for sale as food, by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.
"This is exciting news for the existing hemp industry which will now continue to thrive, producing a healthy and sustainable product for consumers," Mr Blair said.
"Low THC hemp is a healthy choice for consumers, containing a near perfect ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 and high levels of protein.
Mr Blair said low THC hemp is legally already grown in NSW under strict licensing conditions and it was a hardy and sustainable crop that had enormous potential for both domestic and export markets.
"It’s already sold legally in more than 21 developed countries including the USA, Canada and the UK - It is now time for Australians to reap the benefits," Mr Blair said.
"In the US alone, the Hemp Industries Association estimates the value of hemp based foods, supplements and body care sales to be between US$150-170 million per annum."
Australian hemp growers are also developing drought resistant varieties for the domestic and international markets, to help improve its viability as a crop.
Forum members acknowledged today the considerable work undertaken to address earlier concerns that consuming low THC Hemp would have an effect on road side drug testing.
Consumption trials undertaken as part of the approval process have overcome those concerns finding its highly unlikely consumption of low THC hemp foods would result in a positive road side reading.
Today’s decision to amend the Food Standards Code also imposes strict limits on the levels of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp foods.
There will be strict guidelines around the marketing and labelling of the foods - preventing any suggestions of psychoactive or therapeutic effects and branding that links illicit cannabis and any reference to the presence of CBD.