New Industrial Hemp Bill Introduced to WA Parliament

Friday 13 April 2018 @ 11.05 a.m. | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

On 11 April 2018, the Industrial Hemp Amendment Bill 2018 (the “Bill”) was introduced to the WA Legislative Council by the Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC. The Bill is currently before the Legislative Council where it is awaiting further comment and discussion.


The Bill is proposed to amend the following WA Acts:

  • Industrial Hemp Act 2004 (Act 1 of 2004) (the “Act”); and the
  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (Act 66 of 181).

According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”):

“… during April 2017 the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation approved amendments to Standard 1.4.4 (Prohibited and restricted plants and fungi) of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the ‘Code’) to permit the sale of low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis seeds as food …”

Brief Overview of the Amendments

It is anticipated that the Bill will amend section 3 to the Act  to enable the cultivation, harvesting and processing in WA of industrial hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) content of up to 1%. It achieves this by amending the definition of industrial hemp from no more than 0.35% of THC to no more than 1% of THC.

The definition of processed industrial hemp at s 3(1) to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (“MoD Act”), is amended so that the defence provisions currently available under the MoD Act continue to apply in relation to processed industrial hemp with a THC content of no more than 1%.

Outcome of the Proposed Changes

It is anticipated the changes will allow for a greater variety of industrial hemp crops to be bred and developed in WA, under local environmental conditions and in different soil types, providing opportunities for increased yield, improved profitability, and options for integration into more established farming systems as a rotation or break crop.

It will also reduce incidents where people accidentally exceed the current standards due to external factors such as weather.

In the Minister’s Second Reading Speech, she commented:

“ … There are a multitude of end uses for industrial hemp, including food, textiles, building material, paper, cosmetics and biofuel  … The changes to be introduced through this Bill will boost the fledgling Industrial Hemp industry in WA, by loosening a legislative barrier that has limited hemp production in the State. Industry strongly supports this change, and we are keen to support the development and expansion of this exciting job creating industry.”

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Industrial Hemp Amendment Bill 2018 (WA) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service.

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