Industrial Hemp Agronomic TrialsAppendix B Applications for authorization to cultivate low-THC hemp (Cannabis L.) for research purposes

In October 1995, the Minister for Primary Industry released for public comment a Report of a Review of the Potential for Commercial Hemp Production in Western Australia. The Report included a recommendation that a small agronomic trial program be implemented. In order to implement this recommendation, up to ten field trials of low-THC hemp (Cannabis L.) will be authorized in Western Australia to investigate the commercial potential of producing low-THC hemp for fiber, fabric and other products.

The possession and cultivation of low-THC hemp (Cannabis L.) for any purpose in Western Australia is currently prohibited because it is defined as a prohibited plant under the Poisons Act 1964 and a prohibited import under the Commonwealth Customs Act 1901. Authorizations under each Act will be required for the trial program.

This letter and the attached documentation are provided in response to expressions of interest to the Health Department of Western Australia and Agriculture Western Australia It explains how the program will operate in Western Australia and how to lodge an application for inclusion in the trial and authorization to cultivate low-THC hemp. Successful applicants wishing to import seed can then apply to the Commonwealth Department of Health for import licenses. Commonwealth quarantine requirements would also apply to seed imports.

The conditions and operational procedures for the issuing of research authorization will address a number of health, drug, law enforcement and environmental issues, including the possibility that:

  • Trial material could be used as a cover for illegal cultivation of high-THC plants; trial material could be stolen and used for illegal purposes;
  • Low-THC varieties could be genetically unstable and revert to high-THC content; and

The general principles to be adopted in issuing an authorization are:

  • Both private and public entities are eligible for authorizations;
  • Authorization will be issued to target those environments with the greatest potential for hemp production within the State;
  • Authorizations will be granted only for replicated small-plot field trials of up to one hectare unless applicants can demonstrate that Larger quantities of harvested material are essential;
  • Authorized persons will be required to make available agronomic data from field trials for publication;
  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate their technical ability to conduct the trial or employ technically qualified persons to conduct trials or to collaborate with a research institution; and
  • Special consideration will be given to applicants collaborating with commercial end-users. All plant material produced in the trials will be destroyed on site under supervision by Agriculture Western Australia unless alternative arrangements are approved in writing.

A steering committee consisting of representatives of the Health Department, Police Department, Agriculture Western Australia and the farming community will consider applications for inclusion in the trial program and make recommendations to the person authorized under the relevant legislation on the issuing of authorizations, Work with authorized persons and review authorization conditions as required.

The steering committee will select applicants for authorization on the basis of

  • Location of trial sites to ensure that trials are distributed in areas of greatest production potential;
  • Demonstrated ability to implement appropriate security measures and other authorization provisions;
  • Scientific merit of proposed research; and
  • Being a fit and proper person.

Details of the conditions which must be met by applicants are provided in the attached application form. Also attached are instructions on how to make application for authorization and information required in support of the application.

There will be no charges raised for making an application or for the issuing of an authorization during the trial period. Authorizations are not transferable.

Please note that applications must be lodged with the Chairman, Industrial Hemp Steering Committee, The Link Shopping Center, Aberdeen Street, Albany, WA 6330, by 5:00 PM

3rd May 1996

Yours sincerely,

Hon Murray Montgomery, MLC
Industrial Hemp Steering Committee

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