Rule changes will allow hemp seed to be sold as food from next Monday in a big win for regional economies, Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor announced today.
In a statement, Mr O'Connor said, "This is great news for the local hemp industry, which has argued for decades that the production of hemp seed foods will stimulate regional economies, create jobs and generate $10-20 million of export revenue within three to five years".
"Diversification is key to the health of a regional economy and the Government is committed to work with our primary sectors to get more value from what they do."
Currently, hemp is grown under permit and is used for fibre and hemp seed oil.
The changes will see "hulled, non-viable seeds and their products" to be viewed as "just another edible seed", Mr O'Connor said.
However, the growth, possession and trade of whole seeds will continue to require a license from the Ministry of Health, he added.
"The Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 will be amended to allow the sale of hemp seed as food. Hemp flowers and leaves will not be permitted."
The regulatory changes will come into force on November 12.