Low THC hemp as a food

Page last updated: 21 November 2016

At the 30 January 2015 Forum meeting, Ministers formally rejected the draft variation to Standard 1.4.4 – Prohibited and Restricted Plants and Fungi to permit the sale of foods derived from the seeds and seed products of low-THC hemp, resulting from Application A1039. The variation was rejected due to ongoing concerns Ministers had including law enforcement issues, particularly from a policing perspective in relation to roadside drug testing, CBD levels as well as that the marketing of hemp in food may send a confusing message to consumers about the acceptability and safety of cannabis.

On 20 November 2015 the Forum: noted progress of FRSC in investigating information gaps related to low THC hemp as food; noted progress of work to address information gaps on marketing of hemp food products, cannabinoid levels, and legal and treaty issues; noted the consumption trial and FRSC report will not be available before the end of July 2016; agreed in March to consider asking FSANZ to raise a proposal to allow low-THC hemp as food; and noted the Forum is expecting to consider a final report that will include roadside drug testing later in 2016.

On 31 March 2016 the Forum: noted FRSC reports on marketing and labelling, legal and treaty implications, and maximum level of CBD; requested FSANZ prepare a proposal to permit low-THC hemp as a food; asked FSANZ to consider setting a CBD limit (to distinguish food from therapeutic goods) and include acid precursors in any cannabinoid limits set; forwarded to FSANZ advice from the INCB to consider the European Union approach; provided FSANZ with policy advice to restrict marketing and advertising that implies a link with illicit cannabis and advertising hemp seed as having psychoactive effects; and noted the importance of managing a number of issues outlined in the agenda paper.

On 31 March 2016, Ministers agreed that jurisdictions would audit their legislation to identify what changes would need to be made to allow the sale of low-THC hemp as food.

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