A recent meeting of industry associations, companies, various other groups and the South Australian government appears to have been a success.
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the roundtable meeting was to be focused on discussing the potential for establishing industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in South Australia.
While an official release is yet to be spotted from SA’s Government regarding outcomes from meeting, several news services are reporting some optimism from the government and those attending.
Manufacturing Minister Kyam Maher, who convened the meeting, said the state government could potentially legislate to permit industrial hemp, but regulations regarding medicinal cannabis were in the Federal Government’s hands.
“If there are reasonable things we can do, we’re happy to make representations to the federal government,” he said.
One of parties attending was The Australian Cannabis Corporation, which has previously floated the idea of establishing a cultivation and manufacturing facility at the soon to be shuttered Holden car plant in Elizabeth in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
Ben Fitzsimons from ACC, who was previously critical of the government’s response to his company’s proposal, said the roundtable was “very positive”.
Not so happy were a group from Leigh Creek, who say they were denied a place at the discussion table; apparently as a result of being late to express interest in participating in the discussion.
SBS reports while Mr Maher said a hemp and medicinal marijuana industry could be a boon for the state, there was much groundwork to be done.
“We’ve undertaken to reconvene within 90 days, and look at anything that we need to represent to the federal government,” he said.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks, who introduced Industrial Hemp Bill 2016 in SA’s Parliament in December, felt the discussion was a positive development.
“I am starting to feel hopeful,” stated Ms. Franks. “Maybe we’ve lagged behind for so long, we can learn to lead by learning from the other’s mistakes.”
Ms. Franks’ bill will be voted on this year.
Industrial hemp could be well suited to South Australian conditions as it can be grown on marginal lands and requires far less water than conventional crops.