A long-time North Coast hemp grower doubts whether a Greens bill to legalise hemp foods will have any effect on changing the law banning the sale of hemp foods.
Andrew Kavasilas, a licensed hemp grower, said although the legislation introduced and passed by the upper house of NSW Parliament was welcome, it was doubtful it would be supported in the lower house.
He maintains the industry has massive potential in Australia, pointing out that the industry in Canada was turning over half a billion dollars after just 12 years.
NSW Greens health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham announced last week that the upper house had voted 17-16 last week to adopt a Greens motion calling on the government to work with other Australian governments lift the ban on hemp food products. The government opposed the motion but Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats and Labor voted with the Greens in favour.
‘The ban on hemp food products in Australia is nonsensical, as Australians are missing out on a healthy and nutritious food source, and Australian farmers are missing out on profiting from a valuable crop and growing market,’ Mr Buckingham said.
‘For years now Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has delayed making a decision on legalising hemp foods by commissioning endless reports and reviews. 2016 should be the year that a decision is finally made.
‘I hope that Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair will get over this embarrassing loss and takes on the naysayers within the Government to get a win for farmers and consumers.
‘Hemp foods have extremely low levels of THC and it is impossible to get stoned from them. Just about every other country in the world allows the consumption of hemp foods and Australian farmers are missing out on huge potential.’
Mr Kavasilas, who has grown some of the largest hemp crops under licence on the north coast, said however that he was not confident that the Greens push would be successful because the NSW Police remained opposed to hemp foods because it might alter the tests of roadside drug swipes.
He also said the Greens had supported the government when road-side testing for drugs was first introduced, however the party has since admitted it made a mistake.
‘We told them not to do it because we knew it was all based on lies but they did anyway,’ he said.