The Hodgman Liberal Government is delighted that its long-time advocacy for the use of low-THC industrial hemp as a food product has been successful and will present an exciting new economic opportunity for Tasmanian farmers.

The Health Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Adelaide today has endorsed the recent Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recommendation to allow low-THC hemp to be legally designated as a food, matching the situation in other countries in the world.

Minister for Health Michael Ferguson and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said that Tasmania had led the charge on this issue including obtaining ministers’ agreement to undertake a scientific human consumption trial to satisfy concerns about police roadside drug testing, ensuring that marketing of hemp for food cannot be linked to illicit drugs and a concerted lobbying effort of colleague health, agriculture and police ministers.

Minister Ferguson highlighted that today’s decision provides industrial hemp growers and the industry with investment certainty.

“The new food standard will commence in six months to allow other jurisdictions to make the necessary regulatory changes to make this a truly national approach,” he said.

“Tasmania is ready to go and whilst our preference was for this to commence immediately, it does mean that the Tasmanian industry can plan, plant and market next season’s crop with full confidence and no delay at all.”

Minister Rockliff said allowing the use of low-THC hemp in food products has the potential to boost overall production and open new markets thereby boosting our agriculture sector, strengthening the economy and creating more jobs in regional Tasmania.

“We now have nothing standing in our way – we’ve done the legwork and industrial hemp in Tasmania is now ready to rock and roll,” he said.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to the industry and has already streamlined the licencing and regulatory processes making it easier for our farmers to grow industrial hemp.

”Special purpose legislation for the cultivation and supply of industrial hemp for commercial production was introduced and licences have been extended from one to five years.

“Tasmanian farmers are now well placed to capitalise on new markets now that the federal prohibition on hemp foods in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code has been lifted.”

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