Locally Grown Hemp Seed Foods Available In Queensland Soon

Hempseed - Queensland, Australia
Image: ElinorD, CC BY-SA 3.0

Queensland’s Health and Ambulance Services Minister has announced hemp seeds will be available for human consumption in the state from mid-November.

In April, the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation approved low-THC hemp seeds to be sold as food in the two countries from Sunday 12 November 2017. However, Queensland’s cannabis farmers could have been at a disadvantage as the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 currently prohibits the primary production of industrial hemp for food applications in Queensland.

To address this situation, the State Government introduced legislation yesterday to enable  hemp seeds to be grown for human consumption in food.

“The new legislation also proposes to continue restricting the growth of cannabis to licensed producers and ensures a high-quality of seed is made available to the public,” said Minister Cameron Dick, who also stated there will be more robust requirements for monitoring cannabis growers.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne was upbeat about the economic flow-on effects for the state through the legislation.

“By allowing industrial cannabis seed to be grown for human consumption, there are opportunities for producers to supply low THC hemp seeds to domestic and international markets,” said Minister Byrne.

“This emerging market will enable the Queensland producers to compete at a global level and has the opportunity to create growth and employment in this industry.”

Humanity has used hemp seed as a food source for thousands of years. Australia and New Zealand had the dubious distinction of being the last two countries in the world to end a ban on hemp seed foods – and even New Zealand permitted hemp seed oil for human consumption. The road to reversing the ridiculous ban has been a frustrating, long and bumpy one; taking more than a decade to travel.

Hempseeds, a versatile food with a nutty flavour, have a high nutritional value. The industrial hemp plant has very low levels of the psychoactive compound THC, and the seeds contain even less.

A hiqh quality oil can also be extracted from the seed, which is thought to be even better for cardiac health than olive oil. As well as food applications, hemp seed oil is used as an ingredient in cosmetics, as a biofuel and in other applications.