Farmers primed to plant state’s biggest hemp crop after changes to legislation
16 November 2017
November 16, 2017 11:18pm
TASMANIAN farmers are set to plant the state’s biggest hemp crop in response to long-awaited legislation that now allows hemp to be sold as food.
From last weekend, hemp products including the seed can now be consumed legally as a food.
It is a major breakthrough for Tasmanian farmers who have been battling for decades to change the law.
While hemp has legally been grown in Tasmania since the 1990s, a ban on human consumption up until now has stifled the industry’s growth.
This season 500ha of the crop will be planted in anticipation of growing demand for seed products.
Hemp grown for food does not contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinoid.
The seeds are rich in omega-3, 6 and 9 oils and high in protein and also low in sugar and gluten-free.
Hemp Association of Tasmania president Tim Schmidt said it was also encouraging to see the amount of research into hemp production currently being conducted.
Over the past 18 months about $2 million has been invested in the hemp industry in Tasmania.
EcoFibre and Midlands Seeds, the two companies contracting growers for seed, are also undertaking crop research and trials to help develop more productive crops for the Tasmanian industry.
There are many potential food uses for hemp seed.
Shelled hemp seeds can be sprinkled on cereal, salads, or yoghurt. Hemp seeds can be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs and consumers can even buy hemp ice cream at Constitution Dock in Hobart.