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Industrial cannabis production

Industrial cannabis (Cannabis sativa) production in Queensland is managed under Part 5B of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (the Act) and Part 4 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (the Regulation).

Industrial cannabis (hemp) is specifically bred to have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of no more than 1% and does not have the psychoactive properties that marijuana does. In Queensland, the crop is grown commercially to produce fibre and seed. Industrial cannabis seed is allowed to be produced for food for human consumption.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries does not deal with licences to allow cannabis to be grown for medicinal use. Contact the Australian Government's Office of Drug Control for information about researching, cultivation and producing cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Industrial cannabis conditions, restrictions and licences

There are 3 licence types under the Act.

Grower licence

The Act allows the holder of a grower licence to:

  • possess and supply industrial cannabis and produce industrial cannabis plants and seed from planting seed.
    Planting seed
    means cannabis seed that has been harvested from a cannabis plant with a THC concentration, in the plant's leaves and flowering heads, of not more than 0.5%
  • possess and supply industrial cannabis seed to a researcher, another grower, seed handler or analyst
  • supply processed cannabis to authorised persons.

Researcher licence

The Act allows the holder of a researcher licence to:

  • possess and supply for research purposes, industrial cannabis and class A and B research cannabis plants and seed
  • produce industrial cannabis and class A and  B research cannabis plants and seed for research purposes
  • supply processed cannabis to authorised persons.

Seed handler licence

The Act allows the holder of a seed handler licence to:

  • possess industrial cannabis seed for the purpose of storing, denaturing, manufacturing and trading in the seed
  • supply industrial cannabis seed and processed cannabis seed to authorised persons.

Record keeping

If you are a holder of any of the above licences, you must maintain records of your activities, including any industrial cannabis in your possession and when and how much you plant. For more detail on the record-keeping obligations of licensees, read Division 7 of the regulation.

Prohibited activities

Licence holders are prohibited from:

  • producing CBD oil or any other product from industrial cannabis leaves or flowering heads
  • supplying industrial cannabis leaves or flowering heads to another person for the purpose of producing CBD oil or any other product
  • allowing food producing animals to consume industrial cannabis plants.

Hemp industry participants other than licensees

In some circumstances, if you are not a grower, researcher or seed handler, but you participate in the industrial hemp industry in another capacity, you may not require a licence. However, you must abide by the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld).

For example:

Analysts

If you conduct analysis of cannabis to determine its THC concentration, you must have approval granted under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (Qld). Cannabis plant material must only be analysed in a laboratory that is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), Australia.

Manufacturers

If you own or operate a facility that uses or processes industrial cannabis to manufacture a product for sale, you are allowed to possess processed cannabis.

Processed cannabis means industrial cannabis plants that have been harvested or treated so they have no leaf, flower or seed harvested from industrial cannabis plants that have been denatured.

You need a seed handler licence if you receive unprocessed cannabis in the form of whole, viable, industrial cannabis seed that have not been denatured.

Dangerous drug offences may still apply to any other dealings with industrial cannabis unless you hold the relevant licence and conduct activities in accordance with the conditions of the licence.

Obtaining an industrial cannabis licence

Contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 to discuss your licensing requirements and to obtain the relevant forms. Once you have applied, Biosecurity Queensland will assess your application and determine if you are fit and proper to hold a licence.

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