Wednesday, March 1, 2017
South Australia green-lights industrial hemp production
Industrial hemp will be legalised in South Australia after the government announced it would support a Greens bill.
The laws will allow for the growing of hemp for industrial purposes, such as cosmetics, clothing and textiles, and construction materials.
Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher will move a number of amendments to the Industrial Hemp Bill 2016, which was introduced to Parliament by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last year.
Mr Maher said the removal of legal barriers gives growers and manufacturers the opportunity to explore the economic potential for the hemp industry in SA.
"It will allow farmers to consider whether they want to grow hemp in SA and to become licenced to do so," he told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.
"It will also allow for the possibility of manufacturing of hemp products, such as textiles, building products and a range of cosmetics."
He said the state government is also interested in allowing the cultivation of medicinal cannabis but this is a federally regulated matter.
The SA government has written to Canberra asking them to explore streamlining the changes required for the cultivation and export of medical cannabis.
Grain Producers SA chairman Wade Dabinett said farmers were excited to explore the potential of growing hemp as the state's climate appears suited to it.
"Farmers are certainly supportive of it because we want as many options as we can in our rotation," Mr Dabinett said.
"In the US and Canada it's a booming industry. We want to see whether we can achieve that here."
Industrial Hemp Association SA president Teresa McDowell said the multi-faceted hemp industry was worth billions of dollars globally.
"Environmentally and economically, it's an incredible resource and one that we just need to allow our state to tap into."
She hoped the federal government would soon legalise the consumption of hemp foods because this would create more business opportunities as well as health benefits.
"If you look at the hemp food industry globally that's a billion-dollar market," Ms McDowell said
"It's an incredible health food. It's just filled with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals."