The ABC’s Landline program this week features a segment pointing the finger at some industrial hemp growers in New South Wales who, it is alleged, are flouting the law to produce medicinal cannabis for the black market.

Elixinol Wellness non-executive director Paul Benhaim told the program some licensed hemp growers are producing CBD products for the booming wellness market, even though it is a prescription-only medicine under Australian law.

Elixinol Wellness non-executive director Paul Benhaim

He said: “I’m aware of a lot of people who have made a significant amount of money from selling CBD that they’re producing from industrial hemp grown in Australia.

“It’s common knowledge in the northern New South Wales area that CBD is available at many places. Many… are claiming it to be legal without a prescription.”

He estimated Australia’s black market for medicinal cannabis to be ‘about 10 times larger’ than the legal, prescription market.

Medcan Australia managing director Craig Cochran warned of the risks people attracted by low prices are taking by buying unapproved medicine. 

He said: “They don’t know what’s in it, they don’t know how it’s grown, they don’t know if it’s got mould, they don’t know if it’s got pesticides, heavy metals — the list just goes on. They don’t really know what they’re buying.”

Benhaim said government authorities are not taking responsibility for the black market and called for reform to bring regulations governing CBD in line with other developed nations, where it is sold in supermarkets and health food stores.

Watch this week’s Landline on iview.