Replies are starting to flood in after the Norml President wrote to all MPs with a Survey for them to complete.

A Norml delegation will soon be meeting with Kevin Hague from the Green Party and Iain Lees Galloway from the Labour Party to discuss Norml policy further.

New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin has continued her party’s famous use of the word ‘NO’ by answering ‘NO’ to every question on the Norml survey.

Ms Martin even opposes Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s plans to allow hemp foods products in New Zealand, despite hemp seed being one of nature’s most nutritious food sources.

“Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) received an Application from Dr Andrew Katelaris MD on 4 December 2009. The Application seeks approval for the use of the seed and seed products of Cannabis sativa, with low levels of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as food.” (FSANZ Report – 6/12/11)

“FSANZ is satisfied, based on the safety assessment conducted that hemp foods are safe for human
consumption. Hemp food products may provide a useful alternative dietary source of many nutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Only small quantities of whole hempseed or hempseed oil need be consumed to meet the adult adequate Intake for alpha-linoleic acid (an essential omega-3 fatty acid).”

Hemp is legal to grow in New Zealand once a licence is obtained from the Ministry of Health. A hemp farm in Waikato is pioneering a potentially huge new industry in this country. A booming hemp industry would generated jobs and tackle the economic and environmental crisis head on.

However, figures released to Norml under the Official Information Act show that very few New Zealanders are making use of the opportunity to grow hemp.

In 2011 only four companies and one individual received hemp licences. Only one individual applicant was turned down.

In 2010 no individuals applied for Hemp licences. In the last three years there has never been more than six licences issued in a single year, mostly to companies.

While Norml is primary focused on the rights of cannabis users, we hope that the legalisation of hemp following Nandor Tanczos’ Private Members Bill, will one day result in a much bigger hemp industry in New Zealand.