Can I import hemp Into Australia?

If you’re trying to import hemp into Australia make sure you understand what’s legal.

Although there has been talk about the legalisation of medical marijuana imports to Australia, consuming cannabis is still illegal for the most part. Similarly, importing hemp or cannabis also faces strict laws under Australian Hemp Regulations.

All Cannabis products intended for human consumption are prohibited to be imported into Australia under the Regulations

To simplify this: you basically cannot import hemp that’s intended for human consumption but there’s provisions that allow imports for industrial use e.g. to make clothing.

Disclaimer

This guide is only a general reference and is not intended as legal advice. Your ability to import hemp products is dependant on the Department Immigration and Border Protection. If unsure, check with these guys.

Laws on hemp in Australia

Hemp (also known as Cannabis Sativa) is subject to various laws in Australia that affect imports, cultivation and use. These laws include:

  • Customs Act 1901, through the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health (HSH)
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961
  • Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971
  • United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988

The multiple laws make it difficult to generalise how hemp is treated in Australia so it’s important to make a distinction on the type of hemp as well what you are doing with the hemp.

What forms of hemp can’t be imported?

Let’s start with what you can’t import into Australia. Any part of the plant or seed cannot be imported.

  • Seeds
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Stalks
  • Fruiting tops
  • Resins of the plant (in any form)
  • In the form tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the active ingredient in cannabis.
  • Any product intended for human consumption

Note: You may be able to import hemp plants and seeds with appropriate licensing.

What forms of hemp can be imported?

Processed industrial products that are free of contamination with hemp plants (e.g. contamination with flowers, seeds and leaves)

  • Paper
  • Hemp pulp
  • Fabric
  • Rope


How can I get a license to import seeds and plants

In order to import hemp seeds or oils you must be a holder of:

  1. A License to Import. Licenses are organised state by state.
  2. A Permit to Import. You must also obtain a separate Permit to Import each time you bring hemp seeds or oils over. This is obtained before the shipment is made.

You can find more information here.

How do I apply for a license?

To apply for a license there is strict criteria that you must meet. This can include:

  • Proving the location where the hemp seed or oil is stored are secure
  • Providing a list of all contacts involved
  • Reason for importing

How do I apply for a permit to import hemp?

You can apply for a permit once your license has been approved. Before it is issued however you must meet an state or territory requirements regarding:

  • Possession
  • Use
  • Cultivation

Where can I apply for a license?

You will need satisfy multiple state/territory requirements if you are transferring across state/territory borders. Licenses are granted by the Secretary of Department of Health.

You can find import and export forms here.

Can I grow hemp in Australia?

This is how each state treats hemp growth. Common rules include:

  • The final products must not be intended for consumption or smoking
  • Hemp grown and supplied is of low THC or under a certain limit
  • Having a license

State

Can I grow hemp?

THC limits

Australian Capital Territory

Yes, industrial hemp can be grown with a license

  • 1% in the leaves and flowering heads for industrial hemp from certified hemp seed.
  • Certified hemp seed must have must harvested from plants with less than 0.5% THC in it leaves and flowering heads
New South Wales Yes with a license
  • 1% in the leaves and flowering
  • Any seeds will produce plants and flower heads with less than 0.5% THC.*
Northern Territory Not usually but exemptions available for processed hemp fibre and products as long as they are not whole.
  • 0.005% hemp seed oil for external
Queensland Yes, industrial hemp can be grown with a license
  • 0.1% in the the plants grown for seeds or fibre.
  • Plants can only be grown from seed certified to produce plants under 0.5% THC
South Australia No legislation for commercial cultivation
  • 0.005% for sale of hemp seed oil for external use.
Tasmania Yes, industrial hemp can be grown with a license
  • Hemp can be grown with up to 0.35% THC of dry weight under the conditions of licence.
Victoria Yes, can be processed for commercial or research purposes under Victorian authority
  • 0.35% in the leaves and flowering heads of plants use in cultivation for commercial use or research.
  • 0.1% for the final processed fibre products, must not contain whole seeds and not be suitable for consumption.
  • 0.001% for processed seeds. Can be sold if free of flower heads and leaves with no more than 0.1% THC.
Western Australia Yes, industrial hemp can be grown if the the hemp seed is certified with a license.
  • 0.35% in the leaves and flowering heads.

Why is there a difference between percentage of THC allowed in seeds and the parts of the plant?

This difference allows for a variation in the level of THC in hemp plants due to environmental conditions (outside of the growers control).

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