[6 November/Stuff Business]

The government announced on Tuesday that hemp seeds will in future be treated as just another edible seeds as the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 will be amended from Monday 12 November. Hemp flowers and leaves will not be permitted to be sold as food. While some growers said the changes being made did not go far enough as the flowers and leaves are just as nutritious as the seeds, they saw the move as a step in the right direction. There will be advertising restrictions on the product which will include not displaying hemp leaves on the packaging. Growers noted that hemp is one of the few complete plant proteins containing all the amino acids as well as being environmentally sustainable. Food Safety Minister, Damien O’Connor, said that regional economies would be the biggest winners from the rule changes as well as providing the opportunity to create new export revenues.