The Australian hemp industry is eager to move into growing their own, home-grown high CBD hemp. In September 2020, Australia announced a plan to reschedule low-dose CBD products meaning Australian consumers will finally be able to legally purchase CBD products over the counter, representing a new growth opportunity for Australian hemp growers.

Like many other places worldwide, the legal and climatic challenges of growing high CBD hemp in Australia offer barriers and opportunities. For smart growers, however, there is plenty of opportunity for high CBD, Australian-grown hemp. The trick is understanding the challenges and making smart growing decisions to capitalize on the prospects of growing high CBD hemp “Down Under.”

The Changing Legal Status of Growing High CBD Hemp in Australia

Like most other nations, after decades of cannabis prohibition, Australian regulations and public perception toward cannabis have been shifting in the last few years. Despite being non-psychoactive and low in THC, hemp was lumped together with marijuana and banned since the 1930s.

Things started to change in 2017 when Australia amended the Food Standards Code, permitting hemp seed sale for human consumption. Farmers were legally allowed to grow industrial hemp; however, it is still not considered an agricultural commodity and is regulated under Australia’s Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Australian hemp farmers must apply for a special permit to grow hemp. However, each state set its own rules for total THC allowance, ranging from .35 percent total THC in Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia and one percent total THC in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

In the meantime, CBD extracts for consumer use has been highly regulated in Australia. CBD has been considered a narcotic, only available for purchase via a prescription. However, the newly announced de-scheduling promises to change that for 2021. Only oral and under the tongue formulations will be allowed; vaping, smoking and topical CBD will remain classified as narcotic.

So, what does this all mean for Australian CBD hemp growers? Well, it means that demand for CBD products in Australia was already strong and finally, the politicians are coming on board! This all bodes well for plenty of money to be had for the new Australian high CBD hemp industry into 2021 and beyond. Along with home-grown sales, Australia is also in a prime position to be a significant supplier of hemp-derived products for the Oceania region. Australia’s CBD market is predicted to reach $18.6 million by 2028.

Pollen Drift Challenges for Growing High CBD Hemp in Australia

Since CBD was still so tightly regulated when their industrial hemp laws first came into place in 2017, most hemp currently grown in Australia (about 2500 hectares in 2019) has been planted into fiber and grain-producing hemp crops.

As more Australian hemp growers shift to high CBD plantings, pollen drift and inadvertent seeding (lowering CBD biomass quality) poses a challenge for Australian hemp growers. Especially in Tasmania, which has been the central region for Australian hemp-production (producing about two-thirds of the current crop). Though Australia itself is a vast country (1.3 times the size of the United States), Tasmania is an island only about the size of West Virginia.

However, greenhouse production and appropriate greenhouse varietals are an excellent option for those regions with heavy hemp fiber and grain production at the moment. Within a few years, expect to see triploid (seedless) hemp cultivars appropriate for Australian growers. Cutting edge hemp breeders like Trilogene Seeds are responding rapidly to market demands, working to bring into production genetically stable, high cannabinoid triploid varietals.

Choosing the Right High CBD Varietal for Australian Micro-Climates

Like in the United States, Australia has many different climactic challenges; choosing the right high CBD hemp varietal will be crucial to success. Southern regions of Australia are cooler, with milder summers and often rainy winters. At the same time, northern areas are hotter and tropically influenced, while Australia’s interior is harsh, hot and dry. Luckily hemp is widely adaptable and with appropriate varietals and growing techniques, hemp can thrive almost anywhere in Australia.

Trilogene Seed’s Australian hemp growing partners are finding success with elite, house-bred strains like Sangria, Cherry Bomb, Rosella, Super Woman, Ultra Violet and Libido. Trilogene Seeds does ship internationally, with a 1000 seed MOQ per strain.

Please visit our website – www.trilogeneseeds.com – for more information about Trilogene Seeds’ line of proven, cannabinoid-rich feminized hemp seeds and how we work with domestic and international growers for hemp-growing success. Or email us at sales@trilogeneseeds.com or call at (630) 605-1707.