Increase in seizures prompts warning to potential importers of products containing cannabis

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is warning those attempting to import products containing cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) oil their items will be seized at the border and they may face prosecution, unless they have permission to import the goods prior to them arriving in Australia,.

The warning follows a marked increase in the number of items containing cannabis, commonly referred to as CBD products, being intercepted by ABF officers and referred to Australian Federal Police (AFP) for further investigation and/or seizure.

Items regularly stopped by ABF officers include hemp or CBD gummies, oils and skin care products claiming to have health benefits or therapeutic uses. Products making therapeutic claims must comply with the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Cannabis products are not permitted to be imported using the personal importation scheme because they contain a substance which is prohibited under the Customs Act 1901. Only licenced sponsors can import cannabis products for medicinal purposes

Under the Approval for the importation of hemp seeds and hemp derived products guideline there are some hemp products that can be imported without permission. Further details can be found on the ABF Website .

ABF Assistant Secretary, Trusted Trader & Trade Compliance, Brett Cox, said the increase in detections of cannabis containing products is a concerning trend.

“Cannabis containing products can only be imported into Australia if permission has been granted prior to the goods arriving in Australia by the Office of Drug Control.” he said

“Individuals who unlawfully import products containing cannabis may face large fines or even imprisonment. These products are controlled under the Customs Act to help ensure the safety of the Australian public.”

The Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood, congratulated frontline ABF officers for preventing prohibited CBD products from reaching our shores.

Unauthorised products can be harmful to the community and the ABF will act to stop them coming into the country,” Assistant Minister Wood said.

“People who import these products are not only wasting their money, they risk prosecution.”

“Anyone purchasing goods from overseas has a responsibility to check if they can legally be brought into Australia.”