East Coast company welcomes legalization of hemp seed consumption

An East Coast company which produced a trial crop of industrial hemp says the New Zealand economy could benefit greatly from the hemp seed industry, following a new agreement that will see hemp seed legalized as food in New Zealand.

Hikurangi Enterprises are looking at ways to benefit from the legalization of hemp seed as a food source.

Manu Caddie, Hikurangi Enterprises told Te Kāea, "We definitely have been looking at seed as a product that we can grow here and supply, we have a little bit from our 1st crop over the last summer, we're looking at options for that at the moment it's been allowed to be used for cold press to date but we might be able to do some other things with it in the future."

Hemp seeds have a growing global market currently worth around 1 billion dollars.

"The returns on hemp seed will probably be $3000-$5000 a hectare instead of $400-$1000 a hectare you can get for maize or corn."

Green MP Marama Davidson says that the legalization of hemp seed consumption is long overdue.

"This government has decided to support hemp seed cultivation, there will be benefits as a result of this decision. The hemp industry will have positive impacts on youth, Māori communities and local economies. I strongly support this change."

It is expected that the growth of the seeds will lead to job creation in New Zealand.

Caddie says, "There'll be new jobs locally, there'll be new jobs manufacturing, we don't have a factory here that's licensed for food preparation at the moment that might be something that happens in the future or that might be something that we send over to Gisborne and that creates jobs there."

Various regulation changes must be made before the standard can take effect in New Zealand. This process may take up to 18 months.