In the Australian state of New South Wales, a Hemp Industry Taskforce has been established to support ongoing growth in the sector.
On July 1, 2008, New South Wales’ Hemp Industry Act 2008 was enacted, which covers activities related to hemp fibre, seed and oil production, but not use as a therapeutic good. The production of medicinal cannabis in Australia is licenced through the Office of Drug Control, an agency of the Commonwealth Department of Health.
The Hemp Industry Act 2008 defines low-THC hemp as “any plant of the genus Cannabis that has a concentration of THC in its leaves and flowering heads of no more than 1% and includes the seed of any such plant and any product (such as oil or fibre) derived from any such plant”. Furthermore, any seed for sowing must be harvested from a hemp crop with a THC level of less than 0.5%.
New South Wales is now home to more than 1,200 hectares of land dedicated to hemp production. While a drop in the bucket compared to other agricultural land utilisation, the NSW Government says this tally is more than all other Australian states combined. Still, the many opportunities for hemp in NSW are a very long way off from being fully exploited and the state government’s new taskforce will help address the situation.
To include up to ten representatives from growers and industry associations, objectives for the task force include the role industrial hemp could play in the transition to a net zero, circular economy for the state. It will also identify barriers to production and development in NSW, and consider opportunities for harmonising hemp regulation nationally.
“Guided by the taskforce outcomes, the Government can consider what work is required to reduce red tape and provide the regulatory environment to support the industrial hemp industry grow and deliver jobs to regional NSW,” said NSW Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty.
The forming of the taskforce evolved from a NSW Hemp Industry Roundtable last year, hosted by Member of the NSW Legislative Council Jeremy Buckingham and attended by Minister Moriarty.
“The establishment of this taskforce is a game-changer for an industry that promises massive potential for jobs and farming in NSW,” said Mr. Buckingham. “This is a plant which is up to 25 times more effective at capturing carbon than forestry, and which offers almost unlimited potential in a wide range of areas including clothing, construction, foodstuffs, paper, medication and more.”
Yesterday, Mr. Buckingham moved that the NSW House affirms its support for New South Wales industrial hemp, which was agreed to.