Industrial hemp has been grown in Australia for decades, with growers growing a crop known as hemp oil to supplement Australia’s already-viable petroleum industry.
The Federal Government has said it will buy up to $2.5 billion worth to meet growing demand for the hemp oil.
But as the hemp industry expands in Australia, its producers are concerned about the impact of the controversial and costly importation of industrial cannabis from the United States.
Australia’s industrial hemp industry was worth $10 billion in 2013, and the Federal Government is set to sell an estimated $2bn worth of hemp to the US this year.
The Federal Government said it would be “appropriate” to export the hemp products to US states with strict federal laws against hemp imports.
“We will be making the appropriate arrangements to export industrial hemp and other industrial hemp products for the export market, including through the Federal Food and Agriculture and Rural Affairs (FARAR) program,” a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.
“Australian-grown hemp oil will be sold in Australian markets through the FARAR program, and hemp seed, fibre and seedlings will be exported from Australia to the United Kingdom and Canada through a licensed, independent international exporter.”
The Hemp Industries Association of Australia (HIAA) says there is currently a glut of industrial CBD in Australia and that a shortage of industrial cannabidiol (CBD) in the US is the main reason.
HIAa says CBD oil can be converted into THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) in small quantities.
It also says CBD can be used in CBD-based medications and as a substitute for THC in cannabis extract, for the treatment of nausea and vomiting.
According to the Hemp Industries Australia website, industrial hemp has become increasingly popular over the past few decades, as farmers across the country have grown and harvested a wide range of crops.
In a report for the Hemp Industry Association of Australasia (HiaA), Mr Scott, the hemp farmer, said there were about 600 hemp farms in Australia at the end of the 2016-17 financial year, and there was increasing demand for hemp oil as growers grew more crops.
“We are expecting the hemp trade to expand significantly over the next few years, and it’s important that we grow as much hemp as possible,” he said.
“It’s a very good thing for our country.”
HiaTara Hemp Products chief executive officer Mark Bremner said he was “absolutely delighted” that the Hemp Products Association of New South Wales (HipHopSA) would approve the importation.
“There are a lot of very promising things happening in the cannabis industry, and that’s the main thing for HipHopSA,” he told AAP.
While hemp was not an agricultural crop in the early 1900s, it became a major crop after a major shift in cannabis use.
During World War II, industrial cannabis was used as a weapon against Japan.
Australian farmers have long been involved in the hemp business.
They began growing hemp in 1872 and have since grown into the industry that we know today.