MEDIA RELEASE  | For Immediate Release.
02 May 2023, [MELBOURNE, VIC]

The Legalise Cannabis Victoria MPs, Rachel Payne and David Ettershank will tomorrow introduce a motion to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry to explore the potential for the industrial hemp sector to bolster Victoria’s economy.

“Industrial hemp” refers to cannabis crops that contain innocuously low levels of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The crop averages less than 0.3% THC content by dry weight. 

Hemp is regarded as one of the oldest domesticated fibre crops; its cultivation has been prolific for centuries, but its growth has been stifled due to the stigmatisation and criminalisation of cannabis over the last century. 

A product of enormous utility, industrial hemp can be made into textiles, rope, food, oil, paper, bioplastics, construction materials, animal fodder, biofuel and more.  The crop is capable of absorbing more carbon dioxide per hectare than a forest, or almost any other commercial crop, making it an ideal crop for carbon sequestration. 

Products such as “hempcrete” – a sustainably produced construction product that is carbon-neutral, fire-retardant, regulates humidity and moisture and, is extremely well-insulating; could play a part in helping Victoria to supplement building supplies shortages while meeting the state’s zero emission reduction targets well into the future.     

Despite boasting ideal growing conditions in many regions of the state, only 6 industrial hemp growers cultivate approximately 169 hectares in Victoria – a fraction of the nation’s yield.  In current trials across Australia, Victoria falls well behind Tasmania, WA and NSW in industrial hemp production, with Tasmania currently producing more than 7 times the amount of Victoria’s yield. 

The motion will ask the Committee to consider whether the regulatory and licencing framework for hemp cultivation and hemp products should be streamlined to benefit the expansion of the industrial hemp industry, and potentially investigate the introduction of a standalone Industrial Hemp Act, the likes of which have encouraged strong industry growth in Tasmania and Western Australia.  

The Victorian Parliamentary Hemp Taskforce found, in its 2021 Interim Report, that there are a great number of opportunities to develop the industry and the government could assist in a number of areas including investment, research and legislative change. 

Statements attributed to Rachel Payne MP, Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan: 

“There are limitless opportunities for the Victorian industrial hemp industry to benefit our everyday lives across a multitude of industry and service sectors.  Henry Ford used hemp to make his cars and, even now, we are rediscovering that this technology is being used in the automotive industry.”

“Victoria has the ideal conditions to grow this fast-growing, high-yield, and extremely versatile resource. We must sow the seeds today to substantially benefit from the growing economic potential this crop can yield for Victoria, tomorrow.”    

David Ettershank MP, Member for Western Metropolitan: 

“The global hemp industry is forecast to quadruple to nearly USD$20 billion by 2027.  We would love to see Victoria become a leader in the industrial hemp revolution of the future.”   


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Tony Lee 
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