STATE Government parliamentary secretary Guy Barnett MHA has offered to work with the Derwent Valley Council to see industrial hemp grown in the municipality. "The Liberal Government supports the removal of red and green tape to grow a viable industrial hemp industry in Tasmania," Mr Barnett said earlier this week.
"Non-psychoactive cannabis used in industrial hemp has a number of uses including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel," he said. "Industrial hemp is already produced in many countries around the world. The Liberal Government supports this industry and the Deputy Premier, when in Opposition, led an inquiry on the issue and recommended its introduction. The Liberal Government has been a long-time supporter of the industrial hemp industry.
"The government fully supports the use of low THC industrial hemp in food products as it would immediately create new markets for the industry. I am disappointed that despite Tasmania’s urging to expedite a decision, the recent Food Regulatory Forum meeting of state and federal ministers again deferred a decision to allow the use of hemp in food products.
"I believe that there is a strong case to be made for growing industrial hemp in the Derwent Valley and am keen to see this opportunity realised. I would be pleased to work with the Derwent Valley Council and other key stakeholders to see this happen.
Mr Barnett said industrial hemp was an entirely separate issue to medicinal cannabis. "The issues are very much chalk and cheese. The reasons why the Liberal Government rejected the trial proposed by Tasman Cannabinoids have been clear, it did not address key concerns around security, safety and the potential for social harm.
"That is why the Liberal Government supports the Legislative Council conducting a committee inquiry into medicinal cannabis and we would encourage interested parties providing a submission to the inquiry. The Liberal Government supports this inquiry and will consider the report of the committee when it is released. The best way forward is to let the inquiry take its course," Mr Barnett said.