The South Australian Government has announced a roundtable meeting at the end of this month to discuss the potential for establishing industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in the state.
“The South Australian Government recognises there is a potential for both the industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries to set up in the state, delivering economic benefit and creating jobs,” said Manufacturing and Innovation Minister, Kyam Maher.
“On January 30 we will bring together key stakeholders to talk about industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis, to identify any barriers and coordinate our approach to potential opportunities that exist for the agriculture and manufacturing sectors in South Australia.”
The meeting will no doubt be welcomed, but the timing is interesting – it appears it has been brought forward.
Early this month, the home of an Adelaide woman who supplies medical cannabis products at no cost to patients across Australia was raided by police. This incident resulted in a backlash in the community; not only against the South Australian Government, but Federal too.
While South Australia and Australia are moving ahead on medical cannabis and hemp; progress is perceived by some to be too slow and the programs to be implemented too restrictive.
With regard to hemp, while it’s legal to own products made from the fibre in South Australia, it is still illegal to grow the plant – even though industrial hemp has zero recreational value. Hemp can also be a source of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid prized for its potential health benefits.
Industrial Hemp Bill 2016 was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks in SA’s Parliament in early December. The legislation would permit the cultivation of plants with less than half a per cent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
There appears to be plenty of interest from farmers and companies in growing the crops; including using the soon to be shuttered Holden car plant in Elizabeth as a site for cultivating and processing medical marijuana.
Minister Maher said the Government is happy to examine any proposal with the potential for industry development and jobs in the state.