NZ Hemp Industry News

Its a classic chicken and egg scenario - Farmers want to grow it, yet domestic demand is in early adopter phase. General public are uneducated and confused. Simply put, some cannabis flower is psychoactive and some is not. Hemp varieties can not get you "high." 

Part of Plant Culture's mission is to eliminate confusion around hemp. New Zealand farmers diversifying into a clean green crop is an exciting prospect. Our vision is that New Zealand becomes a leading organic plant based protein and omega 3 exporter. 

Per 100g, hulled hemp seed has more protein than steak, more omega 3 than tuna, more dietary fibre than oats. Hemp seed is the worlds most nutrient dense seed. 

viable hemp seed New Zealand

Hemp varieties are non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis. By law the flower must have less than 0.35% THC to be considered a hemp variety. This amount is insignificant.
It's virtually impossible to test positive for THC in a drug test from eating hemp seed. 

hemp flower

When the NZ diary started there was small milk factories in every district which slowly shut down as the industry centralised. Hemp may have to go through a similar process because transporting the raw seed long distances to be cleaned and dried is not cost effective. 

Farmers out of reach of a seed cleaning and drying facility risk multiple issues like mould for example. To add value, special machines to process the seed into hulled seed, protein, oil are important for efficiency and consistency. 

The NZ hemp industry has been able to grow low THC hemp varieties since 2002 however due to hemp seed food laws the industry has not really moved. Hemp seed food laws in NZ are expected to be updated by mid 2018. We can't really judge how big it will be but there is literally hundreds if not thousands of hemp based food products you can make with hemp seed.

The hemp plant has four parts, the seed for food, the flower for medicine, the stalk for fibre and the inner stalk for construction. This means when the farmer grows hemp for seed the by products are essentially cream on top. Each aspect of the plant requires different machinery to harness it into commercially viable products. 

Hemp Decorticator

Without local infrastructure NZ hemp farmers to date have had to process the different parts of the crop by hand which is not economically viable at scale. If you are planning to grow a small crop, up to a few hectares, its possible to do it by hand. 

Cameron Sims Plant Culture Founder Hemp

Unfortunately the flower is considered illegal for commercial use in NZ despite having a raft of non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD. Cannabinoids are the active ingredients in "medicinal cannabis" and there are one hundred and thirteen known cannabinoids across the entire family of cannabis. Only two of the cannabinoids THC and CBN are psychoactive. 
Cannabinoids regulate the endocannabinoid system in our body. The ECS is the largest receptor system in the brain and actively regulates homeostasis or equilibrium in the body. 


Hemp Stalk and flower
Because of prohibition scientists are only now just starting to understand the potential of different cannabinoids healing affects on different systems in the body. However cannabis flower as a medicine has been used for 1000's of years before prohibition. 

The stalk can be made into all grades of fabric. BMW I3 (electric car) uses hemp stalk in their door panels because its 10% lighter. The Chinese Army Uniform and socks are made from hemp stalk fibre. Plant Culture uses hemp fibre instead of bubble wrap. Totally compostable. 

Hemp Door

The coolest hemp clothing label is - Friday Hut Road in Australia 

Friday Hut Road

The inner part of the stalk - the "hurd" is used in "hempcrete." Hempcrete or hemp concrete sequesters carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as it turns into petrifies into stone. In other words hemp used in construction can literally reverse green house gas emissions. It breathes, anti bacterial and anti fungal so it makes for a great environment for families to grow up in. 

Hemp House

If you want to build a hemp house in NZ. At this stage you will have to import hemp from overseas, likely Europe. On average it works out about 10% more than a normal house build in NZ. 

In general, hemp is an early adopters product still in NZ and by investing in it now you are helping create a pathway for a more sustainable consumer economy for generations to come. As Chinese, Canadian and Australian hemp enter New Zealand we will see the price naturally come down. Due land price alone in NZ, locally grown hemp is will always naturally come at a premium. 

Using hemp seed as our vehicle for change our mission is to help transform consumer culture from unsustainable to rejuvenating our global back yard.

Eat hemp, its good for you and helps diversify New Zealand's agriculture industry. 

Plant Culture Founder Cameron Sims Hemp Pioneer


7 comments

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  • Is it legal to grow and process hemp in NZ, for the intention of creating hempcrete? Is the suggestion to import down to processing availability only or due to the law?

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  • I didn’t know hemp seed was legal to sell just yet.

    Ashleigh Collis

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