New task force established to advance industrial hemp in Australian state

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A new initiative in New South Wales (NSW) will explore the role of industrial hemp in transitioning to a net-zero circular economy, according to the Australian state’s government.

The Hemp Industry Taskforce has a goal to establish robust value chains, address legislative barriers, and explore harmonization of national regulations, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, which is facilitating the effort.

The task force will convene monthly meetings to outline short-, medium-, and long-term objectives for the industry, following the legal framework outlined in the NSW Industrial Hemp Act 2008.

Cutting red tape

The new body, to be populated by ten representatives from growers and industry associations, grew out of a government roundtable last year that was hosted by NSW Legislative Council Member Jeremy Buckingham and attended by Tara Moriarty, Minister for Agriculture.

“Guided by the task force outcomes, the Government can consider what work is required to reduce red tape and provide the regulatory environment to support the industrial hemp industry grow and deliver jobs to regional NSW,” Moriarty said.

Flowers excluded

The initiative excludes production of hemp flowers for therapeutic purposes, which require separate licenses and approvals.

“Currently, the Hemp Industry Act 2008 facilitates the cultivation and supply of low THC hemp fiber and seed production in NSW under controlled conditions, without compromising the effectiveness of existing drug enforcement strategies of the NSW Police,” according to Moriarty.

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