Make hemp foods legal – Greens condemn missed opportunity
MEDIA RELEASE – 30 January 2015
The Greens NSW agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham expressed dismay following a decision today by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulations to reject recommendations to overturn a ban on hemp food in Australia, saying that a huge economic opportunity, especially for farmers, is being squandered.
“There is an international market for hemp food products worth over $1 billion and Australian farmers are missing out on this opportunity because of politicians from the Liberals, Nationals and Labor lack the political courage to bring our regulations in line with the rest of the world,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world where it is illegal to consume hemp products as food and this decision is at odds with recommendations by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) in 2002 and again in 2012 that hemp foods be made legal.
“I am calling on the National Party to work with the Greens to achieve the legalisation of hemp food products so that this huge opportunity for regional Australia does not get squandered.”
“Hemp is a sustainable and cost effective crop but the production of hemp fibres alone does not have the economic returns necessary to make it viable for farmers. Allowing the seeds to be sold for human consumption would significantly improve the financial return for farmers considering hemp as a crop,” he said.
The 2012 FSANZ report which recommends the consumption of hemp foods be made legal states that:
- Hemp has no psychoactive properties and, therefore, could not be detectable in drug tests;
- There is no evidence of adverse health effects in humans at low levels of THC exposure;
- Hemp grows in a distinctly different way to marijuana and would be easily detectable by drug enforcement agencies;
- No other country has reported any problem with mixed messaging regarding drug law enforcement.
The Greens NSW will be launching a comprehensive hemp food policy closer to the state election.
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916