First hemp seed export under amended legislation

24 July 2020
  • First export of hemp seed under amended legislation 
  • Legislation was introduced to facilitate exports for hemp and medicinal cannabis industries.
  • Ensures legitimate exporters of narcotic goods are supported to access emerging export markets

This first successful export of hemp seed to New Zealand has taken place under new legislation that facilitates exports for the emerging hemp and medicinal cannabis industries.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the new legislation ensures legitimate exporters of hemp products are supported to access emerging export markets.

“The Australian Government wants our agricultural industries to be able to capitalise on the opportunities that flow from growth in our regions and globally,” Minister Littleproud said.

“To help us achieve this, we need to ensure that we have appropriate regulatory settings to enable exports to grow and in turn to help drive productivity and increase returns at the farm gate.

“The new legislation removes unnecessary regulatory barriers and will support better access to international markets for the emerging hemp and medicinal cannabis industries. 

“It will also support the initiatives of the Australian Government to reduce red tape, bust congestion in regulation and enable agricultural industries to remain resilient after the threat of COVID 19 has passed. 

“Hemp product exports which may be better supported under the new legislation include seeds, raw hemp and hemp food products, such as de-hulled hemp seeds and health powders containing hemp.

“For Australian farmers, reliable access to overseas markets means increased profitability
and certainty for further investment in their properties and people.

“For the Australian economy, it means more jobs, more exports, and higher incomes in a competitive and profitable agricultural sector.

“For Australians, it means stronger regional communities and a more prosperous and productive Australia.

“The legislation is just one of the initiatives that the Government is progressing to modernise the systems that underpin our very valuable agricultural exports.”

Fast facts:

  • The global medicinal cannabis market size was estimated to be more than US$11 billion in 2017. This is expected to reach an estimated US$44 billion by 2024.
  • In November 2017, the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code permitted the sale and consumption of low-THC hemp seed foods, allowing producers the opportunity to access a growing global industry worth more than $500 million.
  • The export of medicinal cannabis products was legalised in February 2018 through the Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Cannabis) Regulations 2018
  • From 2015 to 2018, phytosanitary assurance was provided for 18,320kg of exported cannabis seed to markets in Korea, the United States, Uruguay and Malawi.