HomeNewsVictorian Hemp Inquiry: State Government's Response

Victorian Hemp Inquiry: State Government’s Response

In the Australian state of Victoria, the State Government has responded to recommendations from a wide-ranging inquiry into hemp held last year.

In May 2023, a motion for an inquiry investigating opportunities and challenges for expanding Victoria’s hemp sector was passed in Parliament. A final report tabled in late November by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee set out nine recommendations for supporting the industry.

The Victorian Government recently replied, and mostly in a positive way. Here’s a summary of recommendations and the response.

Supported In Principle: 

  • Remove industrial hemp from the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and create stand-alone industrial hemp legislation consistent with other jurisdictions in Australia.
  • Lobby the Commonwealth Government for changes in laws to allow use of the whole plant, including CBD extraction.
  • Establishing an accreditation framework that would see industrial hemp crops recognised in Australia’s carbon credit scheme.
  • Including hemp products in Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework
  • Prioritise it as a growth crop and increasing research.
  • Repurposing of existing infrastructure, with a focus on timber production facilities, for industrial hemp processing.

Supported In Full:

  • Streamline existing licensing requirements.
  • Defining hemp products as Rural Industry in the Victorian Planning Provisions.

Under Review

  • State government providing seed funding as a minor partner for establishing a hemp cooperative in Victoria.

“The Victorian Government looks forward to continuing to work with industry to develop the hemp industry in Victoria,” states part of the response, which can be viewed in full here.

With regard to a stand-alone Industrial Hemp Bill, that has already been introduced to Parliament by the Legalise Cannabis Party. But debate was adjourned in mid-May while the State Government prepared its response to both the bill and the hemp industry inquiry.

“Victoria and Queensland are the only states in Australia without one,” said Legalise Cannabis Party MP Rachel Payne last month. “It is imperative that Victoria has a stand-alone bill, look at Tasmania, which passed an industrial hemp bill in 2015, and you’ll see the benefits.”

Ms. Payne, who brought forward the Victorian inquiry last year, said Tasmania has 1600 hectares planted. According to a Parliament of Victoria news item, last year there were just six growers in the state cultivating a total of 169 hectares.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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