Hemp is a cannabis plant species that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and when the seed is used at high concentration, the ingredient has mind-altering and psycho-active effects. It may also be referred to as low-THC cannabis or industry hemp. It can be in either seed, oil or fibre form.
Currently, it is legal in Australia to grow plants with a low THC level such as hemp. However, cultivating a plant with a THC level greater than 0.35% is an offence in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. Further, it is an offence to cultivate plants with a THC level of more than 1% in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Lastly, a plant with a THC level greater than 0.5% cannot be cultivated in the Australian Capital Territory.
Hemp vs Cannabis
The stigma surrounding hemp has led people to think of it as being cannabis or marijuana. However, it is not cannabis or a narcotic drug but a species of cannabis plant. The term ‘hemp’ is used to describe a variety of low-THC cannabis. The main difference between hemp and cannabis is the amount of THC in the plant. Typically, hemp has lower THC levels then cannabis.
The uses of hemp also set it apart from cannabis. Hemp can be made into things such as rope, carpeting, paper, fabric, flour, and fuel. Cannabis is more limited in its uses and usually used for medical and recreational purposes. Also, hemp does not have therapeutic effects, whereas, cannabis does.
In order to cultivate hemp, the grower must obtain a licence issued by the relevant state government. Each state government has different requirements and regulations, but the general conditions of a licence may require the grower to approve the location of cultivation with the state government and agree to inspections and monitoring of the cultivation of hemp by state government inspectors. A licence does not usually allow for the cultivation of hemp for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.
Each state has their own applicable fees associated with the licence.
For example, in Victoria, the licence application fee is $444.30, which must be paid when applying for a licence, and the fee to renew the licence is $140.70. There are also inspector fees that apply in Victoria. The inspector fee for certain activities such as sampling and inspections is $51.80 per quarter hour, and the inspector fee for the inspection or assessment of proposed new sites for current licence holders is $51.80 per quarter hour. On the other hand, in New South Wales, the application fee is $572, with a renewal fee of $418. A further annual licence fee of $200 must be paid each year for the remaining term of the licence.
It is important that you check the regulations of your state to determine which fees and charges apply.
If you are interested in cultivating hemp and require assistance with the licensing process, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on (02) 9262 5495 or (03) 8899 7870; visit our Website; Like our Facebook Page.
This article is written by Damin Murdock. This article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All articles found on this website are intended to provide informative information, nevertheless, in many instances legislation and case law has been simplified and/or paraphrased. If you would like personal legal advice based on your current circumstances, you should contact MurdockCheng Legal Practice for a free consultation.