Hemp seeds as food

Find out about pending law changes to allow hemp seed to be sold as food and who is managing these changes.


The amended regulations to permit hemp seed as food are likely to be in force by early December 2018. A decision will be announced in mid-November.

Hemp seed to be legalised as food

On 28 April 2017, trans-Tasman ministers approved a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The change will allow the use of hemp seed as a food for human consumption. The New Zealand Government has been working to change some laws to enable that to happen. Changes are required to regulations under the:

  • Food Act 2014
  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1975
  • Medicines Act 1981.

It is complicated because of hemp's connection with drug and medicines legislation. Hemp production is highly regulated to ensure that illegal, high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabis is not produced. The process of changing New Zealand's regulations to allow the manufacture, sale, and purchase of hemp seeds (and food made from hemp seeds) won't be completed until late 2018.

Note, the permission to sell hemp seed oil (with zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and zero cannabidiol (CBD)) remains in place during the implementation period.

Public consultation on proposed changes closed on 20 June 2018.

Who is handling these changes?

To put the changes into effect, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be working with other agencies, including the:

  • Ministry of Health
  • New Zealand Customs Service.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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