Hemp Bill gives Victorian farmers opportunities, says VFF

VFF President Emma Germano. Photo: File

THE Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is backing a private members Bill that would remove regulations stopping farmers from growing industrial hemp.

VFF President, Emma Germano, said the Hemp Industry Bill 2024 introduced into the Victorian Parliament by the Legalise Cannabis Party provided an exciting opportunity for Victorian farmers and industry to unlock the benefits of hemp.

“Victorian farmers want to be able invest in industrial hemp, but the regulatory burden is simply too heavy. We commend the Legalise Cannabis party for their leadership on this opportunity for Victoria,” she said.

“We know hemp holds vast potential for various applications, including sustainable agriculture and construction materials. Removing government barriers, particularly those that are onerous or confusing, will unlock hemp’s full benefits, including the potential for secondary processing and manufacturing.

“We need government to get out of the way and give farmers the opportunity to harness the full potential of hemp cultivation and create new opportunities for our regional communities.”

The introduction of the Bill follows the 2023 parliamentary inquiry into industrial hemp, where the VFF had called for removing unnecessary regulatory barriers.

“The laws regarding industrial hemp are not fit for purpose and create an ongoing stigma that links the crop with illicit drugs,” Ms Germano said.

“Industrial hemp has been allowed to grow in Victoria since 1998, but the stigma and onerous regulations that require licences and expensive testing has made it too difficult for farmers and industry to invest.

“Industrial Hemp has the potential to provide Victoria with sustainable building materials, which we know are in increasingly short supply.”

Hemp can be used in the production of a wide range of products, including textiles, paper, building materials, abrasive chemicals, oils, food, inks, cosmetics and more.

“I encourage Premier Jacinta Allan and her government to look at the opportunities that industrial hemp production will bring to Victorian farmers and support this Bill through the Parliament,” Ms Germano said.