AUSTRALIA is planning to resurrect hemp
or Cannabis sativa, the -crop which once
grew aplenty in the continent but was
later abandoned by most farmers. Its
high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which smokers reportedly find
irresistible, led to widespread misuse of the crop.
But its amazing potential - hemp is
used in paper making, fabrics, food, oil
and herbal remedies - makes it too
precious to be abandoned altogether. So
the Australian government has authorised the state of Victoria to hold 10 field
trials over 3 years.
This time, however, all precautions
would be taken. "Applicants for
permits (for cultivation) will also have
to undergo police checks and demonstrate they can achieve satisfaciory field-
site security," says Bill Baxter, the
Australian agriculture minister. The
state police and agriculture and health
officials would monitor the tests to
ensure the hemp plants contained low levels Of THC.