Australian State to allow farmers to grow hemp
NEW laws will allow New South Wales farmers to grow cannabis crops for industrial use, the state government says.
But the hemp plants will not be varieties containing any significant amount of the active substance in illicit cannabis.
The Hemp Industry Bill will allow farmers to grow hemp (cannabis sativa) for use in skin care products, paint, load-bearing masonry, insulation and as an additive to wool, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said.
Such production is already permitted in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, the ACT, Victoria and Western Australia.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries would work with farmers to make sure crops were only grown under a licence by applicants of good repute, Mr Macdonald said.
The licensing system would stop industrial hemp being used as a camouflage for the marijuana variety of hemp, which contains a high concentration of the illicit cannabis drug THC, he said.
"Properties growing industrial hemp will be audited and inspected regularly to identify any illicit plants or any breaches of licence conditions," Mr McDonald said.
"We will continue to work closely with NSW Police to ensure law enforcement is not compromised."
The legislation would pave the way for a potentially lucrative industrial hemp industry, providing farmers with the additional option of another fast-growing summer crop, Mr Macdonald said.
"This is a direct result of the environmentally friendly nature of industrial hemp and a perceived interest in hemp products in the market."