Tasmania’s Rockwell Government tabled a bill in Parliament this week it says will deliver on the Government’s commitment to work with the local hemp industry to support the sector’s future growth and streamline regulation.
The Bill proposes a number of changes to Tasmania’s Industrial Hemp Act 2015 and Industrial Hemp Amendment Regulations 2016.
“Proposed amendments will improve clarity, efficiency, and transparency for licensees,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jo Palmer. “It will also provide consistency with existing legislation in relation to police powers, the assessment of suitability of applicants, and definitions for fit and proper persons and responsible officers.”
The Bill also includes horticultural use of hemp as an explicit licence purpose. Applications could include the use of hemp straw as a mulch, providing growers an additional income stream.
Proposed amendments to the Industrial Hemp Regulations 2016 will also clarify the assessment process for special research licences said Minister Palmer.
“Our government has also committed to support industry to advocate nationally for complementary pathways, compliant with the Commonwealth Drug Regulatory Scheme, to potentially allow for greater use of non-medicinal products from industrial hemp such as extracts and resins,” Minister Palmer stated.
Tabling of the Bill follows public consultation on a draft that ended on 25 October 2023. There were just seven submissions associated with the consultation – among them, submissions from the Tasmanian Hemp Association and Australian Hemp Council.
The latter opined:
“We believe the Tasmanian draft is very limited and conservative in its changes, ignoring the immense economic opportunities denied Tasmanian farmers and the Tasmanian economy.”
The Council also backed the Tasmanian Hemp Association’s call for “true whole of plant use” for industrial hemp to maximise economic growth and environmental opportunities.
Among its feedback, the Tasmanian Hemp Association also stated:
“Tasmanian hemp businesses are increasingly finding that we are no longer competitive with mainland states or in export markets, and it will only be by making key improvements to legislation that we level the playing field and regain our edge.”
A summary of the consultation can be accessed here.