FARMERS and the state opposition have backed the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry to loosen the regulations on growing industrial hemp in Tasmania, which they say is stifling a potential multimillion-dollar industry.
Tasmanian Farmers and Grazier's Association chief executive Jan Davis said hemp could potentially be as lucrative as the state's $300 million poppy industry, but not while licences remained so restrictive that it could not be made commercially viable.
The parliamentary inquiry reported last week that the licensing requirements for growing industrial hemp were "too onerous and imposed undue burdens that stifled the industry's development by acting as a significant deterrent to potential growers."
Ms Davis said Tasmania had ideal conditions for producing high-quality hemp-seed oil and there may be a possibility to value add and build a Tasmanian processing plant, if it could be grown economically.
She said hemp was a good fallow crop and would fit in with existing Tasmanian crop rotations.
And if the federal ban on using hemp oil in foods was lifted - another recommendation of the inquiry - then Tasmania would be able to access more lucrative markets.
Opposition agriculture spokesman and committee member Jeremy Rockliff said the Liberal Party pushed for the inquiry into the issue last year and supported all its recommendations.
Police Minister David O'Byrne said exempting low-THC industrial hemp from the Misuse of Drugs Act would be discussed at the national Standing Committee on Police and Emergency Management meting next month.
"The matter requires national approval, so Tasmania can't go it alone," Mr O'Byrne said.
"However, we'll express support for the industry at SCPEM next month, and keep working closely with other states to progress the issue."