Opportunities to engage in commercial low THC hemp fibre and seed production in NSW

Low THC hemp crop
A low THC hemp trial.

The Hemp Industry Act 2008 (the Act), allows the cultivation and supply of low THC hemp fibre and seed production in NSW, under controlled conditions.

THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the mind-altering substance present in marijuana. Although it looks the same, low THC hemp, as the name implies, has very low concentrations of THC and is of no value as a drug.

A licensing scheme under the Act was commenced on the 6th of November 2008 and will allow commercial production of low THC hemp, as well as facilitating the development of an industry in processing, manufacturing and marketing in NSW.

The licensing scheme will enable activities to be carried out under strictly controlled conditions. These activities include commercial production, research into the alternate uses of low THC hemp, and plant breeding programs to develop new or improved strains of low THC hemp.

Licensing conditions will ensure that production can take place without risk to drug law enforcement. These conditions include strict eligibility and suitability requirements for licence applicants and compliance monitoring programs.

Low THC hemp has been around for many years and has a wide range of uses including oil for use in dog food and fibre for use as a substitute for fibreglass.

Low THC hemp has the added advantage of being considered a "green" environmentally friendly crop, as it requires less irrigation water and use of agricultural chemicals than other fibre crops. A low THC hemp industry in NSW will soon be a reality with the backing of farmers, industry and government.

Documents to assist in the licensing process are available for download below.

Other requirements

Those wishing to grow low-THC hemp should be aware that the environmental assessment and approval process applies to the low-THC hemp industry, in addition to NSW DPI's licensing requirements. The environmental assessment and approval process involves statutory controls under legislation including the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. For more information on the environmental assessment and approval process, please refer to the Department of Planning.