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Growing hemp industry gets Government backing

The State Government is set to boost Western Australia’s fledgling hemp industry, loosening a legislative barrier that was limiting hemp production in the State.

The Government will amend the Industrial Hemp Act 2004 to allow hemp to be grown with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of up to one per cent.

Currently, the Industrial Hemp Act only permits hemp with a THC content below 0.35 per cent.

Changes to the Food Standards and Australia and New Zealand Code in November 2017 permit the sale of food products derived from hemp seed with a THC content of up to one per cent.

Amending legislation on maximum THC concentration in line with national standards is expected to increase the number of varieties available for industrial hemp production in WA, particularly in food production through hemp seeds.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan will today host a roundtable of WA hemp growers, processors and researchers to identify key opportunities for the industry.

There is estimated to be between 25,000 and 50,000 end uses of industrial hemp under the broad categories of paper, textiles, food, building materials, cosmetics, plastics and biofuel.

While there are currently 42 commercial hemp licensees in WA, largely focused on small-scale production, it is expected that increasing the maximum THC concentration could help to drive new growth and job opportunities in the fledgling industry.