Industrial hemp (low-THC cannabis)
Licensing for industrial hemp
Agriculture Victoria is responsible for issuing licences to authorise the cultivation and processing of low-THC cannabis (industrial hemp) for non-therapeutic (not medicinal) purposes in Victoria.
Non-therapeutic uses of industrial hemp include fibre and seed production. Hemp seed produced under the Victorian licensing scheme will be allowed to be sold as food from 11 November 2017.
Licence applicants are required to provide national police history checks, a credit report, a business or research plan and information about the proposed growing site(s) as part of the application process. Site inspections are also generally required.
The application fee for a three year licence in 2016-17 is $418.20; and in 2017-18 the fee will be $426.60. Inspector fees and laboratory analysis charges may also apply to licence holders.
Low-THC cannabis is cannabis, where the leaves and flowering heads contain do not contain more than 0.35 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The licensing scheme for industrial hemp is provided under Part IVA of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.
Background to hemp seed as food
On 28 April 2017, the Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) approved a proposal to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to permit low-THC hemp seed to be sold as food.
The changes to the Food Standards Code commence on 11 November 2017, six months following gazettal on 11 May 2017.
The official communique on the decision of the Forum can be found on the Food Regulation forum communique web page.
For further information, including application forms and guidelines, please contact the DEDJTR Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Further information regarding medicinal cannabis can be found on the medicinal cannabis page.