Australian Hemp Legislation
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Hemp has been used for food and fibre from the start of human history and it will continue to do so to time indefinite. Currently, countries marked in green allow their inhabitants to eat the world’s safest, healthiest food. Those in red do not.
Are hemp foods legal in Australia? Hemp foods are not permitted for human consumption in Australia under laws regulated by FSANZ (Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.) Standard 1.4.4 – Prohibited and Restricted Plants and Fungi in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) prohibits all species of Cannabis from being added to food or sold as food in Australia and New Zealand.
Previous attempts to change the code to remove Hemp have failed including an application in 2002 that Hemp Foods Australia were part of.
In 2012, FSANZ recommended that Hemp be approved as a food source. The FSANZ report stated that:
- It was satisfied that low THC Hemp foods are safe for consumption when they contain no more than specified maximum levels (MLs) of THC.
- Foods derived from Hemp seeds may provide a useful dietary source of many nutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
- Hemp Foods have no psychoactive properties and therefore could not be detectable in drug tests.
- Hemp grows distinctively different to Marijuana and would easily be detectable by drug enforcement agencies.
The approving body, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council has requested a review of the FSANZ decision due to be completed in June 2014. Until then the code still prohibits Hemp as a food.
If, as the Australian Food Regulation Authority has acknowledged, Hemp Foods:
- Are safe
- Are not psychoactive in any consumable quantity
- Provide valuable nutrition that Australians need
- Contain less than the allowable level of THC (or none at all)
- Cannot make it easier for people to grow Marijuana (actually, growing Marijuana in amongst a Hemp crop would make the Marijuana less potent as a drug)
- Cannot cause people to fail a drug test
…why is Hemp prohibited as a food?