As previously noted, low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp for human consumption in Australia has been mooted as a potential basis of inexpensive food and expanded sales capability for farmers who currently grow hemp for industrial purposes. This has been particularly sought after in Tasmania where the majority of industrial hemp is currently grown.
The next critical steps towards legalisation of industrial hemp for human consumption have begun with a meeting of Australian and New Zealand Ministers for Health. The Ministers are reported to have agreed that Food Safety Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) should begin preparation of a proposal to allow low THC hemp, to be discussed at the next Ministerial meeting, scheduled for March 2016. The March 2016 date was expected to coincide with completion of certain clinical trials of low-THC hemp for human consumption, although this has now been delayed until later in 2016. Nonetheless, by progressing a proposal in advance of the finalisation of trials, the Ministers have ensured that any potential delays to the legalisation of low-THC hemp are minimised.