Food regulator, Food Standard Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved low-THC hemp seed products to be used as a food.
THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and the consumption of the products therefore does not result in the psychological effects associated with high-THC cannabis.
However, as the ABC reports, the regulator’s approval does not mean that the sale of the products can now begin. First, state and territory governments must give their approval.
Supporters of the change are hopeful that approval will be at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in April.
The Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association (TFGA) CEO Peter Skillern is one such supporter.
“We’ve been arguing this decision was necessary to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the hemp industry in Tasmania. It’s a giant step forward,” Skillern told The Advocate.
According to Hemp Foods Australia, the international market for hemp foods is currently around $1 billion annually. That organisation’s CEO Paul Benhaim said the demand for Australian hemp foods will quadruple in the next few years.
“This is another positive step in the years long work and investment in achieving legalisation for omega-3 rich hemp as a food in Australia,” he said.
“It will also contribute significantly toward more sustainable farming in Australia, with the added bonus of creating considerable job opportunities for Australia’s farming industry.”