The governments of New Zealand and Australia have recently legalized the use of hemp as food. Though there is no ban on hemp use anymore, there are still strict restrictions on the marketing and labeling hemp products.
There were many unsuccessful proposals to change the Food Standards Code for over a decade. Finally, the sale of hemp products was approved for sale as food in April by Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.
However, the Australian and New Zealand ministers are concerned over the public safety and association of hemp with psychoactive cannabis, so they imposed strict regulations on the products' labeling and promotion.
Although hemp also contains THC, the main psychoactive cannabis compound, its level is extremely low and does not exceed 0.03 percent. In contrast, hemp oil is full of cannabidiol or CBD that is effective for treating various medical conditions, including epileptic seizures, inflammation, and pain.
Moreover, hemp also includes high levels of protein and a perfect ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
The law will come into force in six months after its official publication in the government gazette. However, in New Zealand there still is legislation that bans the sale of hemp seeds with a low level of THC. Thus ministers have to propose further legislative amendments by that time.
According to Niall Blair, New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries, hemp production has already brought many benefits for the growth of domestic and export markets. In addition, he thought that Australians would be excited over hemp consumption as food.
The cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes is legal in Australia since 2008. With the legalization of hemp products, the amounts of hemp growing are expected to increase to meet the domestic demands.
Hemp producers should avoid such words as cannabis, marijuana, and THC if they want to sell their products. Special measures should be taken to comply with the restrictions on advertising. If food labeling is done in compliance with the government regulations, Australians will see hemp products at local retail stores as soon as November.