THE only independent candidate so far to raise his hand in the federal election for the seat of Richmond wants laws changed to make it easier for farmers to grow the non-intoxicating version of marijuana known as industrial hemp.
Nic Faulkner, who has made one of his main platforms the abolition of state governments, yesterday issued a challenge to the major political parties, including the Greens, to debate Commonwealth law which he says makes it legally difficult to grow industrial hemp.
The Brunswick Heads resident said the plant, a type of cannabis with a low level of the intoxicating drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), could be a big boost to North Coast farmers.
But he said its production was restricted by conditions applied under the Commonwealth Narcotics Act 1967.
“A potentially huge industry for Australian farmers and manufacturers is being held back, an industry that would help rectify the Murray Darling basin water and land management issues,” Mr Faulkner said.
He added that growing hemp could help sequester carbon, produce biofuel and omega oils and be used for sewage and waste water management. He said it also used 40 per cent less water than cotton.
“It is a common sense, rational, scientific and medical fact that industrial hemp (low THC cannabis) is not a narcotic,” Mr Faulkner said.
He added it was also “time to open the debate on the whole cannabis prohibition issue”.
“Many hundreds of thousands of people all over Australia use marijuana on a regular basis,” Mr Faulkner said.
“Many people I have spoken to are disappointed that the Greens appear to have abandoned one of their core principals around the whole cannabis debate to attract more mainstream voters.”