Attitudes to industrial hemp are rapidly changing in Australia legally-speaking, but if you’re importing parts of the hemp plant into the country, you still need to be careful.
While hemp fiber has always been available here, Australia, along with New Zealand, were the last countries in the world to lift a ban on hemp seed food products.
Buying locally grown and/or made commercially available hemp products is a great way to go as you’ll be supporting Australia’s local hemp sector, but if you decide to import products, here’s what you need to know.
The following can be imported without requiring special permission:
- Hulled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
- Hemp seed meal
- Hemp fibre (does not include the leaves, seeds or flowers of the hemp plant.)
- Hemp seed oil (this is different to cannabis oil – don’t confuse the two)
With regard to hemp seed, seed meal and seed oil, it must not contain any other drugs or extracts of the cannabis/hemp plant excluding those from the seed itself. Additionally, the total cannabidiol content must 75 mg/kg or less, and the total tetrahydrocannabinol content 50 mg/kg or less.
If buying hulled (shelled) hemp seeds, it’s important that there are no unhulled hemp seeds among them – and this could be an increased risk with cheap imports.
Australia’s Office of Drug Control advises:
“The Australian Border Force regularly test hemp shipments and products, and you could potentially face serious charges if you are found to be importing a cannabis based product that is not covered by this instrument.”
For more information on hemp components that can be imported without requiring a licence and permit, see the Customs (Prohibited Imports) (Importation of Hemp Seeds and Hemp Derived Products) Approval 2018, which can be found here.
While some locally grown and/or manufactured products may be pricier than their overseas counterparts, buying Australian products sourced from appropriately licensed growers will provide some reassurance and boost this young but growing industry. Australian-grown hemp seeds are still in short supply, but buying products from Australian companies using a mix of local and imported produce will still provide the same peace of mind – as their ongoing viability depends on these companies following related laws.