current position of hemp in Australia

Current position of Cannabis sativa in Australia


Australia is a party to the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs of 1961, and as such it is required to exercise certain controls over the trade, cultivation and use of cannabis. Whilst the convention specifically exempts the growing of cannabis for industrial purposes from its control, parties to the Convention are obliged to adopt such measures necessary to prevent the misuse of, and illict traffic in, the leaves of the cannabis plant (the part of the plant which may have psychoactive ingredients)

The Department of Human Services and Health is responsible for the issue of licences and permits to import and permits to export cannabis, including the seeds and resin. These permits cannot be issued without evidence of compliance with the relevant State or Territory legislation.

The authorisation of persons to posses and cultivate cannabis is a State responsibility, administered by the State Departments of Health in consultation with other relevant State Departments.


Cannabis sativa is a prohibited plant under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. However there is a provision for low THC lines of the crop to be trialed under licence for fibre production.

The State government announced on the 20th of September the immediate go ahead of trial crops to begin in north west NSW. These trials are situated near Armidale and are involving researchers from University of New England.

"Hemp Trial Given the Green Light"- an article.


The Victorian governement announced in July 1995 that up to 10 fields of trials of low-THC hemp would be authorised over the next three years to investigate the commercial potential of producing low-THC hemp for fibre, fabric, food and other products.

Possesion and cultivation of cannabis sativa for any purpose in Victoria is currently prohibited under the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act; a state prohibited weed under the Victorian Catchment and Land Protection Act; and a prohibited import under the Commonwealth Customs Act.

Licences to grow a trial crop for investigating purposes are avaliable for applicants. Applicants will be selected on basis of location of trial sites to ensure these sites are distributed in the areas of greatest production potential; ability to implement appropriate security measures; and effective collaboration with commercial end-users.

"Government to test Indian Hemp" an article.


The Tasmanian government was the first in Australia to issue licenses to trial hemp. Licenses have now been issued for the last three growing seasons. The main objectives of the trials are to gather agronomic, quality and pricing data to enable economic feasability to be prepared.

The government currently has a policy allowing the continuation of trial plantings. When sufficient economic information has been obtained then a decision will be made as to whether a viable industry could be established.

This Dope is Very Clever: an article with an interview with Patsy Harmen.


Due to considerable interest in the commercial production of hemp, a committee has been established to examine the impediment to and the benefits of such an industry.

To date the committee feels the major disadvantages of the commercial production of hemp include that presently the plant is classified as a prohibited plant in Western Australia under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Also prospects for a hemp fibre industry in Western Australia appear limited because of high costs of production and the uncertainty about prices for paper pulp.

Hemp may be grown for fibre in WA: an article.


Research commenced to determine the agronomic potential and the processing and marketing potential of industrial hemp.

Hemp is classifed by South Australia Controlled Substances Act as a prohibited substance and the cultivation is totally prohibited. However, research licenses may be obtained. The South Australian Minister for Health has authorised three trial sowings of industrial hemp in South Australia.


Cultivation of cannabis is currently prohibited in the Northern Territory and there are presently no proposals to develop an industry based on hemp cultivation.


Queensland is similar to the Northern Territory in the fact there is presently no proposal to cultivate, or even trial hemp crops. The possession of cannabis in Queensland is a serious offence. Despite this, it has been estimated cannabis is Queensland's second largest cash crop after sugar.

HERE takes you to a long document which deals with the legislative options for cannabis use in Australia. (hence the name of the same title)