The Drugs Misuse Act 1986 will be amended enabling Queensland producers to supply of seed to the medicinal cannabis supply chain.
Agriculture minister Leanne Donaldson said the amendments to the Drugs Misuse Act were introduced with the Farm Business Debt Mediation Bill 2016 to the Queensland parliament.
The amendments enable the supply of seed by Queensland licensed industrial cannabis producers to proponents licensed under the Federal Governments newly established medicinal cannabis cultivations and research scheme, Ms Donaldson said.
Currently Queensland produces some industrial hemp and the industry has developed valuable cannabis seed lines for which it holds plant breeder rights but under existing legislation there is no scope for growers to supply seed into the medicinal cannabis supply chain.
Industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis are both members of the Cannabis sativa species. However, industrial hemp has lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.
Earlier this year, Queensland Health, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, hosted a series of meetings across the State with producers who had expressed an interest in supplying medicinal cannabis.
Ms Donaldson said an issue raised consistently at the meetings was sourcing suitable cannabis seed.
The proposed amendments will enable Queensland industrial hemp producers to supply seed into the medicinal cannabis supply chain once the amendments pass into law early next year, Ms Donaldson said.
It means that producers who are licensed by the federal government to grow medicinal cannabis will have access to seed.
Ms Donaldson said the federal government will maintain a strictly controlled licensing system.