HomeNewsTasmanian Government Eyes Simplifying Hemp Regulations

Tasmanian Government Eyes Simplifying Hemp Regulations

A bill tabled in Tasmania’s Parliament on Tuesday aims to help the state’s hemp industry grow.

Industrial hemp is already making a contribution to the state’s economy, but it could be doing more if policy and licence conditions were tweaked – and the Industrial Hemp Amendment Bill 2023 seeks to do that.

The Bill includes allowing horticultural use of hemp products as an explicit licence purpose, meaning straw – a significant by-product – could be sold as mulch, providing farmers with another income stream.

Currently this is not permitted due to concerns bales of industrial hemp straw may contain viable seed that could germinate. The government previously saw this as a compliance risk that could undermine the industry. But recognising the potential value of the straw, it has worked on the issue with the Hemp Association of Tasmania.

“There will also be improved clarity, efficiency, and transparency for licensees under these proposed amendments,” said Tasmania’s Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jane Howlett. “The proposed amendments 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.”

Furthermore, Industrial Hemp Amendment Bill 2023 provides clarification on the assessment process for special research licences. This is to ensure beneficial research is being undertaken to support the state’s industry.

Tasmania’s Industrial Hemp Act doesn’t authorise medicinal cannabis cultivation, production or manufacture – including cannabinoid extraction – for any purpose as medicinal cannabis is regulated by the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control. The Act covers non-therapeutic uses of the crop, including fibre and seed production. However, the State Government is advocating nationally to potentially allow for greater use of non-medicinal products from industrial hemp; such as extracts and resins.

Public consultation was conducted on the draft Industrial Hemp Amendment Bill 2023 from 28 September to 25 October last year. The Final Report on the Review of​ the Industrial Hemp Act 2015 can be viewed here.

Industrial hemp activity peaked in Tasmania in 2019-20 with 1,500 hectares under cultivation. In that period, Tasmania produced 30 per cent of Australia’s total industrial hemp crop at a farm gate value of around $5 million.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

Most Popular