Australia: New Laws Clear Way To WA Fields Of Hemp

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Nov 29, 2003.

  1. Australia: New Laws Clear Way To WA Fields Of Hemp

    Newshawk: Niall Young
    Pubdate: Thu, 27 Nov 2003
    Source: West Australian (Australia)
    Copyright: 2003 West Australian Newspapers Limited
    Author: Cian Manton


    NEW laws introduced in the Legislative Assembly yesterday will clear the way for people in WA to grow and process industrial hemp.

    But strict licensing and controls will prevent flourishing fields of hemp being used as a cover for illegal cannabis crops, according to Agriculture minister Kim Chance.

    The long-awaited legislation allows for the development of a commercial hemp industry in WA. Hemp is now allowed to be grown only on trial plots under strict rules.

    The legislation will let farmers cultivate commercial crops of industrial hemp, which contains less than 0.35 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol and has no effect as a drug.

    People will be able to grow hemp only when licensed, which will involve a series of tests and police checks.

    Growing industrial hemp without a licence will carry a $10,000 penalty. Breaching licence conditions can attract a $5000 fine and the possible loss of licence. Penalties under the Misuse of Drugs Act could also apply.

    Police and specially appointed inspectors will be able to enter and inspect properties, examine seed, plants or crops and remove them for testing.

    Mr Chance said substantial market opportunities existed for industrial hemp and WA farmers wanted the chance to become involved.

    It was estimated the United States market for natural, fibre and plastic composites would exceed $1.4 billion a year by 2005. Other uses included biodegradable plastics, fibreboards, non-woven geotextiles for use in soil stabilisation, reseeding and erosion control and woven textils which could be blended with other natural materials such as cotton and wool.

    The chief executive of Malaga-based hemp importer Hemp Resources, Kim Hough, welcomed the legislation, which he has spent several years seeking.

    He said it would let his company get hemp seed oil and fabric from local producers.

    Mr Hough's company produces hemp-based cosmetics and clothing.

    "Then we will export the value-added products. It's something sensational for WA," he said.

    The Liberal and National parties were supportive of the legislation. The hemp trials were started under the previous coalition government, which was drafting legislation for the industry when it lost power.

    MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens

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