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Progress on industrial hemp at last


The Green Party is pleased the new Government has announced that it supports in principle the lifting of the moratorium on the issuing of licences to grow industrial hemp.

The Green Party had lobbied the last Government for several years to lift the moratorium to enable a hemp industry to be established in New Zealand.

The Government's policy change was contained in a letter from Health Minister Annette King to Green Party co-leader Rod Donald in response to his request for progress on the hemp issue.

"I'm delighted Annette King has taken the first step by instructing her Ministry to convene as soon as possible a meeting of relevant Government agencies," he said.

"After getting the run-around for years from the last government it's great to see the new Government prepared to take some positive steps on the hemp issue.

"However it's disappointing that the working party originally recommended by the Ministry of Health's chief regulation and safety adviser will not be established immediately," he said.

"I would have thought that outstanding issues concerning hemp cultivation would be resolved more quickly if Federated Farmers and the Hemp Industries Association were invited to join relevant Government agencies which have already met on this issue in the past," he said.

"I am also hoping that the National Drug Intelligence Bureau undertake some thorough research on industrial hemp, as their reasons for blocking progress in this area two years ago lacked substance.

"As a consequence Australia and South Africa have got a head start on New Zealand. I hope the new Government will push this issue along so that our farmers can finally start catching up," said Mr Donald.

Rod Donald on: 04 470 6660, 03 332 5957, 025 507 183 Copies of correspondence to and from Annette King are available from Jonathan Hill: 04 470 6719, 021 212 0642

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