The South Australian Government has announced it will support legislation to legalise hemp cultivation in the state for industrial applications.
The low-THC cousin of the marijuana, industrial hemp has no recreational value, but can be used to make a myriad products. It also contains a non-intoxicating compound called cannabidiol that is creating a great deal of interest for its potential as a medicine in treating a wide range of serious conditions.
Announced by Manufacturing Minister Kyam Maher yesterday, new laws will enable cultivation and also enable manufacturing hemp grown in South Australia into a range of products.
“It will then be up to the industry to decide. It will be up to farmers to decide whether this is an economic and viable crop for them and also manufacturers to look at if they can economically make … things like building products, textiles and cosmetics,” said Minister Maher.
While the details are yet to be finalised, SA’s industrial hemp supporters were ecstatic with the news.
“Such an exciting day for all involved. After years of diligent team work, South Australia has finally opened the gate for our farmers, producers and innovators to get on with the business of industrial hemp,” said the Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia (IHA SA).
The ABC reports crop trials could occur later this year.
Industrial Hemp Bill 2016 was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks in SA’s Parliament late last year. Early this month, a roundtable meeting was held to discuss the potential for establishing industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in South Australia.
While yesterday’s announcement was only in relation to industrial hemp, Mr. Maher also stated the SA Government had an open mind with regard to a medical marijuana industry being established in the state;
Industrial Hemp Bill 2016, which Mr. Maher said the government will back, can be viewed here (PDF). According to the Bill, industrial hemp grown in South Australia will need to have a THC (a psychoactive cannabinoid) level of less than half a percent.
Ms. Franks tweeted: “Look forward to progressing my industrial hemp bill with cross party support in
#saparli – a win today for local jobs & the environment.”