First Australian Hemp Seed Export Under Amended Legislation

Hemp seed
Image: ulleo

This first successful export of hemp seed from Australia to New Zealand recently occurred under new legislation removing some roadblocks to Australia’s hemp and medicinal cannabis sectors.

There wasn’t any further detail on the nature of the export – for example if it was hulled seed, raw seed for food purposes or seed for planting – or the company involved, but it marked another step forward for the nation’s hemp industry.

As we mentioned last month, the Australian Federal Government decided to allow export of medical cannabis products back in 2018, but the lack of phytosanitary certification hampered progress – and it seems in some cases for hemp products as well. However, a bill passed in June broadened legislation certifying agricultural exports to include certification of certain products including medical cannabis and hemp.

“The new legislation removes unnecessary regulatory barriers and will support better access to international markets for the emerging hemp and medicinal cannabis industries,” said Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud. “It will also support the initiatives of the Australian Government to reduce red tape, bust congestion in regulation and enable agricultural industries to remain resilient after the threat of COVID 19 has passed.”

In relation to hemp products specifically that may be better supported under the legislation, this includes seeds, raw hemp health powders and hemp foods such as hulled hemp seeds (seed with the outer shell removed). Why hemp was ever affected by this situation is curious, but Australia has been very slow on changing its hemp views – and even slower on legislation reflecting those changes.

It was only in November 2017 that the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code began permitting the sale and consumption of hemp seed foods, finally giving farmers and manufacturers the opportunity to access a growing global industry Mr. Littleproud’s office says is now worth more than $500 million.

The change also finally gave Australians greater access to food products based on highly nutritional hemp seed; which unlike some other fad foods is probably quite deserving of the “superfood” label given its many positive attributes.