Farmers in the Australian state of New South Wales are now being encouraged to grow industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is incredibly versatile and can be used for food products, bio-fuel, textiles, insulation, skin care products, building materials and even more environmentally friendly paints.
Australia has suffered too long at the hands of cropping practices and crops not suited to the countries’ often harsh conditions. The recent, or more accurately, ongoing drought is finally getting our agricultural industry and politicians thinking outside the box.
Marijuana, industrial hemp’s cousin, is known as “weed” for a good reason – it grows like one. Industrial hemp however doesn’t contain anywhere near the levels of the hallucinogen THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) of marijuana so cannot be used as a drug.
Unfortunately, the word “hemp” has strong associations with marijuana that has led to resistance by governments in many countries in allowing its cultivation – that and the fact that marijuana can be hidden among industrial hemp crops.
But industrial hemp is just too useful a plant to allow these minor issues to halt the adoption of increased cultivation globally and it’s very pleasing to see the New South Wales government urging farmers to grow this crop – their move will help push the case for industrial hemp in other states and countries.
The NSW Government has amended existing criminal drug laws that previously forbid the cultivation of industrial hemp, but farmers wishing to grow hemp will need to register for a special licence. Over 200 farmers in New South Wales have already expressed an interest.