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Greens Welcome Industrial Hemp Initiative

20 January 2000

Greens Welcome Industrial Hemp Initiative

Green co-leader Rod Donald today welcomed the Customs Minister Phillida Bunkle's call for the Minister of Health to establish a working party on industrial hemp.

Mr Donald said he is writing to both the Health and Police Ministers in support of Ms Bunkle's recommendation.

The Greens have led the campaign in parliament to allow the use of commercial hemp in New Zealand and last year Mr Donald led a delegation of interested groups, including Federated Farmers and the Hemp Industry Association, to meetings with the then Ministers of Health and Police.

"We hope the Minister's move will finally lead to the establishment of the working party - which was originally recommended by the Ministry of Health in 1997 - and the rapid granting of licenses to grow trial crops of industrial hemp," he said.

"The Greens are very excited at Bunkle's initiative. Despite the National Government's supposed commitment to enterprise and innovation they blocked industrial hemp every step of the way.

Industrial hemp is a low THC variety of the cannabis plant but is useless as a drug.

"Unfortunately the National Drug Intelligence Bureau confused the issues in 1998 with a report of very poor quality which was full of assumptions and inaccuracies. We are hoping this time round the police will stop expecting the hemp industry to correct their mistakes," he said.

"The Green Party see hemp as a valuable cash crop which could offer growing and processing opportunities to farmers and businesses. Hemp is succesful overseas and the Greens are keen to work towards making it a successful crop for New Zealand."

Ends


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