Restrictions on feeding cannabis to livestock
The Stock Regulation 1988 (sections 59A and 59B) imposes restrictions on feeding cannabis to stock.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psycho-active (mind-altering) ingredient found in the leaves and flowering heads but not the seeds of Cannabis sativa. It is also a fat-soluble compound. If an animal consumes feed with THC, the THC will probably be found in its milk and fat.
Therefore, these feed restrictions are a precautionary measure to give domestic and export consumers of meat, milk and eggs confidence that THC residues are not present.
Under the Stock Regulation, you cannot feed cannabis to stock or allow stock access to feed on cannabis unless the cannabis is:
- processed cannabis
- oil extracted from processed cannabis
- meal ground from processed cannabis.
- the plant Cannabis sativa, whether living or dead
- any part of the plant Cannabis sativa, whether living or dead.
Processed cannabis means:
- industrial cannabis plants (i.e. cannabis plants with a THC concentration in their leaves and flowering heads of no more than 1%) that have been harvested or chemically treated, or mechanically treated or artificially treated in another way, and have no leaf, flowers or seed
- seeds from industrial cannabis plants grown by a holder of a grower licence under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (DM Act) that have been denatured (i.e. treated so they will not grow) either:
- on the place stated in the grower licence
- by a person authorised under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 to denature the seed at another place.
Animals affected by these restrictions
These feeding restrictions apply to any animal falling within the definition of 'stock ' under the Stock Act 1915, i.e. any buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, horse, llama, poultry, sheep, swine (pig) and any terrestrial mammal not indigenous to Queensland.
Cannabis that can be fed to livestock
Livestock may be fed or given access to:
- industrial cannabis stems or ground industrial cannabis stems after harvesting or treating industrial cannabis plants (plants with a THC concentration in their leaves and flowering heads of no more than 1%). In other words, the plant after all leaves, flowering heads and seeds have been removed
- denatured seed from industrial cannabis plants grown by a licensed grower
- the oil extracted from processed industrial cannabis
- seed meal ground from denatured industrial cannabis seed.
Cannabis that cannot be fed to livestock
You must not feed to stock or allow stock to gain access to:
- any cannabis plant that still has leaves, flowers or seed attached
- 'failed' industrial cannabis crops left in a growing paddock unharvested
- viable cannabis seed capable of producing cannabis plants (i.e. seed that has not been denatured)
Detection of THC residues in animals
It is a breach of the Stock Act 1915 for any THC residue to be detected in the tissues of stock. Detection of THC residue in stock tissue is known as a 'residue disease'.
Under the Stock Act 1915, the Chief Inspector of Stock may give written directions to the owner of the place where the affected animals are located in order to prevent, control or eradicate the residue disease. Severe penalties exist if anyone fails to comply with these directions.
Livestock reared near industrial cannabis plants
If you are a licensed grower of industrial cannabis plants and livestock animals are being reared on either your own or your neighbour's property, you must take reasonable measures to deny these animals access to your industrial cannabis crop. If necessary, fence the crop to ensure that livestock cannot accidentally stray into industrial cannabis crops.
- Queensland Parliamentary Counsel (download the Stock Regulation 1988 and the Stock Act 1915)
- Industrial hemp in Queensland
- Grower or research licences