Industrial cannabis production
Industrial cannabis fibre and seed comes from the cannabis plants specifically bred to have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of no more than 1%. In Queensland, you need a licence if you are going to commercially produce industrial cannabis fibre and seed or conduct research into the use of cannabis for these purposes.
This type of licence will not allow you to grow hemp for medicinal use or food purposes. Contact the Commonwealth Office of Drug Control for information about researching, cultivation and producing industrial cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Further information on a proposal to allow low-THC hemp seed for food can be found on the Australia and New Zealand ministerial forum on food regulation communiques.
Industrial cannabis conditions, restrictions and licences
Under controlled conditions and with the correct licence, you are allowed to:
- commercially produce industrial cannabis fibre and seed
- conduct research into the use of industrial cannabis as a commercial fibre and seed crop (e.g. field trials using fertilisers or irrigation and different planting rates)
- conduct plant breeding programs to develop new or improved strains of cannabis for use by growers for the commercial production of industrial cannabis fibre and seed.
There are restrictions on:
- where you can grow hemp
- importing hemp
- possessing information on growing hemp.
Dangerous drug offences may still apply to any other dealings with cannabis unless you hold the relevant licence and conduct activities in accordance with the conditions of the licence.
Find out how to obtain and renew a licence to engage in the commercial production of industrial cannabis on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).
Hemp industry participants other than growers and researchers
If you are not a grower or researcher, but you participate in the industrial hemp industry in another capacity, you do not need a licence. However, you must abide by the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld).
Seed suppliers must:
- keep industrial cannabis seed locked in a secure place
- keep records on seed held and supplied
- ensure seed is labelled in accordance with requirements.
You may apply in writing to the chief executive (Director-General) of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries if you want to be recognised as an industrial cannabis seed supplier.
Recognised seed suppliers must:
- have a current recognised quality assurance program that conforms to an industry standard or code of practice
- be a member of the Queensland Seed Industry Association or a similar organisation in another state.
Read more about the conditions that apply in sections 20, 21, 27, and schedules 7(4) and 9 of the Regulation.
A denaturer processes industrial cannabis seeds to prevent seed germination. Denatured seeds are used in manufacturing seed or oil products.
As a denaturer, you may:
- possess industrial cannabis seed for this purpose
- supply denatured seed to someone who is authorised to possess processed cannabis.
- keep industrial cannabis seed that has not yet been denaturered in a securely locked place
- keep records of seed received
- pay costs for Biosecurity Queensland to monitor your denaturing activities.
Read more about the conditions that apply to denaturers in schedule 7(1) and section 22 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987.
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.
If you conduct analysis of cannabis to determine its THC concentration, you must have approval granted under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1999 (Qld). You can analyse cannabis plant material in only a laboratory that is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia, for technical competence to undertake drug analysis (see section 24 and schedules 7(5) and 9 of the Regulation).
Other types of cannabis
Low-THC hemp is not legally permitted as food in Australia. Read the communique on food regulation.
- Last reviewed: 01 Aug 2014
- Last updated: 03 Jul 2017