Industrial Hemp Field Day In Tasmania

Industrial hemp - Tasmania
Image: Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

An industrial hemp field day will be held in Forthside, Tasmania on Thursday, 9th of February – and it’s expected to generate plenty of interest from potential hemp farmers.

The focus of the field day will be theĀ  research collaboration between the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Ecofibre Industries; which is seeking to develop high-yield, low-THC industrial hemp varieties developed specifically for Tasmania’s climate.

Those attending will also be able to inspect a trial hemp site and gain information on industrial hemp licencing and legislation in the state.

Attending the event and delivering a presentation will be Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff.

Tasmania’s hemp industry is tiny – there’s only a couple of dozen growers currently; but supporters say it could one day equal the state’s lucrative poppy industry.

In October last year, legislation was passed in Tasmania removing some of the regulatory burden associated with the sector – and it’s hoped the streamlined laws will help attract new growers. Licenses have also been extended from one to five years.

There is currently no cost involved in securing a licence to grow or cultivate industrial hemp; nor to buy or sell or industrial hemp seed. However, separated licenses must be applied for and in the case of buying and selling hemp seed, the seed must be certified.

Industrial hemp grown in Tasmania must contain less than 1.0% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); a psychoactive compound present in cannabis.

In other recent industrial hemp news out of Australia, researchers from Murdoch University in Western Australia are working to develop a variety of industrial hemp with consistently low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol.

The maximum permitted THC level in Western Australia is much lower than in Tasmania – anything above 0.35 per cent and the crop technically becomes illegal and cannot be used.

Maintaining levels below this is becoming quite a challenge as many different factors determine a crop’s THC levels; including the type of soil, amount and type of fertiliser, rainfall and other weather conditions.

The ABC reports a hemp grower in WA has seen levels steadily climb over the least three years – a particularly pressing problem as the grower supplies other hemp farmers in the state with seed.