Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor says regulatory changes which come into force on 12 November 2018 mean that hemp seed will be treated as just another edible seed.
He says hemp is currently grown under permit and is used for fibre and hemp seed oil.
“Hulled, non-viable seeds and their products will be now be viewed as just another edible seed. Growing, possession and trade of whole seeds will still require a licence from the Ministry of Health.
“Hemp seeds are safe to eat, nutritious and do not have a psychoactive effect.
“The Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 will be amended to allow the sale of hemp seed as food. Hemp flowers and leaves will not be permitted."
A statement from the New Zealand Hemp Industries Association says this means that in addition to hemp seed oil (which has been legal since 2003) items such as de-hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, hemp seed beverages and hemp seed snack bars will all be able to be legally sold for human consumption in New Zealand.