[6 July/NBR]

According to experts, New Zealand was at risk of missing out on economic opportunities if it didn’t change regulations to allow the hemp industry to flourish.  Industrial hemp was forecast to be a $75 billion global industry by 2025. Hemp is grown in New Zealand for fibre and hemp seed oil. Law changes were expected later this year to the Food Act, the Misuse of Drugs act and the Medicines act, which would allow hemp seed to be sold as food in New Zealand. These law chances could potentially triple planting of the crop. Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, supported the regulation of hemp to move to the Ministry for Primary Industries. He added hemp was a possible way to diversify land use. He acknowledged there had been lost revenue opportunities for not moving quickly enough. Medical cannabis was also under the spotlight as New Zealand attempted to catch up with other countries who had already legalised it for domestic use and export.