Celebrating 100 weeks of office support
In this edition:
- Government changes
- Medicinal cannabis industry news
- Industrial hemp industry news
- New season industrial hemp trials
The Office of Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis moved to the Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment on 1 April 2019. This reflects the role of the Office in industry development and the potential for export in the future. The work of the Office is handled by the Case Management and Regions team.
Our new Minister is the Hon. David Ridgway MLC. He demonstrated early interest in these two industries by attending the first roundtable on Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis in January 2017.
Medicinal cannabis industry news
Martyn England attended a Medicinal Use of Cannabis (Cultivation and Production) Working Group meeting in Canberra recently. Key points included:
- South Australia currently has one medicinal cannabis cultivation license holder and one manufacturing licence holder. Decisions are pending on two cultivation, one research and three manufacturing licences
- Some of the eastern States are reporting problems with the business practices and operating models of medicinal cannabis clinics.
- The risk of being found ‘impaired’ when driving is preventing some patients from taking medicinal cannabis
- Concern about whether Australia can support the number of cannabis cultivators that are seeking licences
- Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia – peak body for licence holders
- In the future there may be three year rather than one year licences but that outcome will depend on the Review.
- Briefing on the Review of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967
- Submissions had to be lodged by 2 April. All submissions are available on website unless marked confidential or indicated otherwise. The final report in the Review is to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament by 29 October 2019 https://www.odc.gov.au/consultation-review-narcotic-drugs-act-1967
Industrial hemp industry news
Currently there are 11 cultivation license holders and 2 for processing.
The first commercial harvest in South Australia is producing yields of 0.9-1.0 t/ha. Planning had anticipated a yield of 0.8t/ha so this result will encourage the cultivators to keep growing industrial hemp.
Good Country Hemp in Bordertown expects to process about 80t this season. This will be sold to health food stores and supermarkets as either cold-pressed oil or hulled seeds.
Another cultivator is selling their crop to Waltanna Farms in Hamilton, Victoria. That crop is destined for industrial hemp oil and seed for food products.
Theft from one industrial hemp crop prompted Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) to remind people that this new agricultural crop should not be confused with marijuana or medicinal cannabis as it does not have the same chemical properties
Anyone caught trespassing at crop sites may be charged and locals should report any suspicious activity. The cultivators have decided they won’t grow a crop in the same location next year. See more detail in this recent Stock Journal article.
New season industrial hemp trials
A second round of industrial hemp trials are underway in the Riverland and the South East to determine the optimum sowing and growing period for 6 varieties. These 6 varieties were assessed as suitable for cultivation in the 2 regions for:
- hemp grain for various uses including for food
- biomass for fibre production.
Four of the six varieties have now been harvested.
CSIRO’s AgResearch (R&D) Needs Survey has had a poor response so producers may be getting it again from PIRSA. If you haven’t already completed it, please do so as the data adds to the knowledge we can share about growing industrial hemp.