These regulations, which come into force on 1 August 2006, establish a licensing system under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to license the cultivation, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop. Other forms of Cannabis sativa (cannabis) will continue to be controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977.
These regulations define industrial hemp and provide the eligibility requirements of applicants and the conditions that licensees must observe.
industrial hemp is defined as cannabis having tetrahydrocannabinol content generally below 0.35% and not above 0.5%:
there are 2 licence types. A general licence permits cultivation and processing of any, or of specified, approved cultivars. A research and breeding licence permits the cultivation and processing of any, or of specified, cultivars, which are not approved cultivars, for research purposes:
the Director-General of Health (the Director-General) will determine which cultivars are approved cultivars. An application may be made for the Director-General to consider further cultivars for approval:
applications for licences must include specified information, including the location of the activities, and a fee is payable on application:
in the case of an application by a body corporate or a partnership, a person must be nominated as the responsible person in respect of a licence. An applicant and a responsible person must meet certain conditions with respect to background and suitability. The Director-General must ask the New Zealand Police to check for any relevant criminal convictions in respect of an applicant, a director of an applicant, or a responsible person. An individual applicant or a responsible person must have the expertise to carry out the licensed activities and to comply with the obligations placed on them under these regulations:
the Director-General may approve an application that meets relevant criteria and may impose conditions on the issue of a licence. Licence applications may be refused on certain grounds:
licences permitting cultivation may only be granted initially for up to 1 year, but this period may be extended, on application, up to 3 years. All other licences may be granted for up to 3 years, or the period extended up to 3 years on application:
a licence will apply to a particular location and specify the activities and cultivars licensed:
the location for licensed activities must be safe, be suitable for the relevant activity, and must usually be at least 5 kilometres from an area zoned as residential:
the Director-General may inspect locations to which a licence or licence application applies:
licence holders must keep the hemp secure, keep certain records, report on licensed activities to the Director-General, and report certain unauthorised activities to the police and to the Director-General:
licensees may be required to have their crops tested for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. Results of testing must be provided to the Director-General. Where a test result shows that a crop has a THC level greater than 0.35%, or greater than 0.5%, the regulations prescribe different courses of action, which may include further testing of, harvest of, or a requirement to destroy, the crop:
where hemp plants have been abandoned, the Director-General may manage or dispose of them, and where hemp plants are dispersed, they may be destroyed:
a licence may be suspended or revoked for non-compliance with the conditions of the licence:
it is an offence to advertise hemp for psychoactive purposes. It is also an offence to breach licence conditions or to supply hemp to unauthorised persons:
the regulations exempt bare stalks and hemp products from the licensing requirements of the regulations.