8 September 2016

A medicinal cannabis licence or a cannabis research licence will be able to authorise a person to obtain cannabis plants, including seeds, in order to commence cultivation.

Cannabis plants (tissue cultures, nursery stock, seeds etc.) can only be obtained from legal sources either in Australia or from overseas where cannabis cultivation is legal at the Federal Government level and is consistent with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

If obtaining from Australian industrial hemp growers, the supply of the cannabis plant/seeds must be consistent with their state/territory licence.

An import licence and permission is required from ODC if importing. Refer to the Importers, Exporters and Travellers section for more information.

Importers will also need an import permit issued by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). DAWR has established import conditions for cannabis seeds and details can be found in their import conditions system, BICON.

Concerns have been raised regarding the hot water treatment required for importing cannabis seed (50⁰C for 20 minutes) and how this may sterilise seeds. DAWR advise that this is a standard biosecurity treatment for seeds for horticultural use (for example, carrots and tomatoes) and is not known to prevent germination.

As an alternative to hot water treatment, DAWR has developed import conditions that allow cannabis seed to enter Australia subject to exporting government certification for disease freedom in conjunction with a fungicide treatment. More information can be found in BICON.

New conditions relating to the import of tissue culture have been approved by the Department of Agriculture and can be found on the BICON website. During the first half of 2017, the Department of Agriculture will also be reviewing import conditions for cannabis as 'cuttings' or 'plants'.