Murray River Organics (MRG) has been granted authority to grow low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis, it announced this week (5 July). It will grow the crop on its certified organic Nangiloc property.

Low THC cannabis can be used in food products including snacks and beverages, as well as supplements.

MRG CEO Valentina Tripp says the approval was a "significant step" for MRG. It has the potential to deliver a new vertical market to its existing food business, she says.

"The Australian hemp market is in its infancy; the company now has the potential to be the first large scale grower of organic hemp in Australia to meet the strong demand in global markets," she says.

"The growing demand for organic hemp-based foods is an emerging trend in the food industry and we believe this offers a unique opportunity for MRG.”

No licence news for Elixinol after $50m raise

Meanwhile, Elixinol Global Ltd (EXL) CEO Paul Benhaim told Food & Drink Business it has had “no news” on its application to grow high THC cannabis (F&DB 08/05/2019). It has had its low THC authority for 15 years, he says.  

This week (5 June) EXL has raised $50 million in an institutional placement. It will issue approximately 12.8 million shares at $3.90 a share, which is an 8.7 per cent discount on the closing price on 3 June. The placement is 10.3 per cent of the company's shares.

The company's statement said the proceed would go towards continued global expansion with a "particular focus" on the USA CBD market. It will more than double its production facilities in Colorado and undertake "opportunistic strategic acquisitions" as well as joint ventures in "select markets".

Benhaim says there is an "unprecedented positive shift in consumer appetite for CBD and hemp derived products".

Packaging News

A Collective Action Group has been announced to drive 2025 National Packaging Targets includes leading industry and government representatives. Big names like Visy and Pact Group, Nestle, Coca-Cola Amatil, and Coles, David Jones and Country Road are among the line-up.

Supermarket giant Aldi is committing to dramatically reducing its plastic packaging, saying it will axe it by a quarter within the next six years, and it will cease supply of many single use plastic products by the end of next year.

In a world first, FMCG giant Procter & Gamble is set to pilot skincare products in refillable containers, which it says could dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in the beauty category.