The Industrial Hemp Act 2004 states that 'industrial hemp' means cannabis, the leaves and flowering heads of which do not contain more than 1.0% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These low levels of THC mean that industrial hemp plants do not have the psychoactive effects associated with prohibited cannabis varieties (marijuana).
Industrial hemp is a versatile crop which can be cultivated for both fibre and seed production. Fibre and hurd can be extracted from the stem, and seeds can be hulled and eaten, or pressed for omega rich oil and protein rich powder.
Opportunities for hemp products are vast including textiles, rope, animal bedding, building materials, oil and food. The challenge for WA businesses is identifying hemp products we can produce profitably and competitively.
Supporting the industrial hemp industry in WA
The State Government is supporting the development of the hemp industry in Western Australia through the Industrial Hemp Grants Scheme. Almost $300 000 will be invested, with additional private investment, towards key projects to drive the growth of the Western Australian hemp industry.
The projects will be looking at a number of aspects of the hemp industry including variety and agronomy trials, processing, food production and marketing.
Licences to cultivate, harvest and process industrial hemp
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development acts as the Registrar for the Industrial Hemp Act 2004 in Western Australia. This legislation enables licensees to cultivate, harvest and process industrial hemp on a commercial scale.
An Industrial hemp licence is necessary to cultivate, harvest and/or process industrial hemp. See the webpage Licensing industrial hemp activities in Western Australia for application forms and more information.
Enquiries regarding medicinal cannabis or extracts from hemp, should be directed to the Office of Drug Control.
Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility study
The Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report was commissioned by the Manjimup Agriculture Expansion Project, jointly steered by Shire of Manjimup, DPIRD, South West Development Commission and the Southern Forests Food Council. The work was completed by Strategy Matrix in 2017-18.
The report considers production of hemp fibre and seed, supply chain and markets for hemp products. The reports of Stage 1 and 2 of the prefeasibility, and a comprehensive literature review is now available to download by filling out the webform on the page Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report.