Hallelujah, hemp is here. The promoters of industrial hemp will be
rejoicing that the Government is finally allowing trial crops, says the
Nelson Mail in an editorial. The approval has been a long time coming.

Those who have lobbied for it, including a Motueka group, have had to
convince the authorities that it is not a wacky idea and not another way to
grow wacky-baccy.

The long-awaited decision should be welcomed, but with some caution. These
are simply trials which will be allowed over two years.

It remains to be seen how successful they will be. Industrial hemp has lots
of uses - from fibre to food. There are exciting possibilities which may be
explored in Nelson, including using hemp in manufacturing insulation. But
the plant is unlikely to be the panacea some may expect.

The high hopes which went with other innovative enterprises in the region,
such as cultivating green tea and farming emu, now faded, are a reminder
not to be too optimistic. Industrial hemp is simply an alternative crop
that is worth experimenting with to gauge its success.

The trials are a bit of a mystery.

Health Ministry officials are refusing to say where the field trial sites
will be because they are worried unscrupulous people will try to steal the
plants to sell as cannabis.

Hemp is from the same plant species used for the cannabis drug, but it has
a much lower drug content. The blurring of the distinction between the two
is an important issue, particularly for the police, who must continue to
crack down on illegal cannabis use. At the same time, if the security of
hemp crops is breached, then the trials cannot be effective and there will
not be a success story to celebrate.

Newshawk: James Slider
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2001
Source: Nelson Mail, The (New Zealand)
Section: Opinion
Copyright: 2001 Independent Newspapers Limited
Contact: http://www.stuff.co.nz/inl/indexLite/1,2487,0a9,FF.html
Website: http://www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,0a1540,FF.html
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1069
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?330 (Hemp - Outside U.S.)