Newsbrief: Anachronistic Law Could Hamper Hemp in South Africa 12/24/04

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http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/368/sahemp.shtml

A nascent industrial hemp industry in South Africa appears poised for takeoff except for one small problem: It's illegal. Although experimental hemp farming has been underway in the poverty-stricken Eastern Cape since 1999 and a large-scale hemp production pilot project began this year, South African law still fails to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana, known regionally as dagga.

South African hemp clothing brand Irie Hemp
"The status of the hemp plant in South Africa is still exactly the same as dagga, but the narcotic ingredient of the hemp plant is much less than the dagga plant," said Andreas Plüddemann, a scientist at the Medical Research Council. He told the Associated Press it was time to amend the 1965 Medicine and Related Substances Act. "There is no real reason not to revisit the legislation other than it might be technically difficult to administer," he said.

Under a collaborative effort among the Agricultural Research Council, the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and the private sector, hemp production now employs about 180 small-scare farmers and includes training and development skills, co-operative agreements with hemp producing countries, commercialization and marketing, and a hemp seed multiplication scheme.

"Hemp breeding has progressed to a level on which we can register a South African cultivar," said provincial agriculture official Molano Sotana. "A multiplication scheme on local hemp seed can be done then, and seed will be affordable to the farmers," he said, adding that 10 oil pressing machines and ten oil filters had been bought to help farmers produce hemp oil.

The hemp plant produces fibers and oils, and is used as a food source as well as for composite building materials, bio-fuels, and textiles. South African Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza last year suggested that auto manufacturer DaimlerChrysler might be interested in using local hemp to make dashboards. But Didiza also warned that there would be no "massive production" of hemp until the Department of Health had removed hemp from the dagga laws.

Now, if hemp production is to help develop the Eastern Cape, South Africa's political class will have to act.

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Issue #368 -- 12/24/04

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Editorial: Jury Manipulation | Conflict Over Pain Management Heats Up as Mainstream Medical Groups Wake Up | In Run-Up to New European Union Drug Strategy, European Parliament Adopts Report Critical of Continued Drug War | Young Reformers Give Drug Czar Hard Time at Monitoring the Future Press Conference | DRCNet Book Review: Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs, Edited by Preston Peet (The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2004, 312 pages, $24.95) | Legalization Talk | Newsbrief: Senior Citizens Support Medical Marijuana, AARP Poll Finds | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: From Federal Prison, Martha Stewart Calls for Sentencing Reform | Newsbrief: Anachronistic Law Could Hamper Hemp in South Africa | Newsbrief: Dutch Open First Retirement Home for Junkies | Newsbrief: Hungarian High Court Overturns Drug Reforms | Newsbrief: Intelligence Bill Yields New Federal Drug Fighter Position | Newsbrief: First Cannabis-Based Prescription Drug Wins Preliminary Approval in Canada | Newsbrief: Canadian Study to Examine Safety of Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Illinois Nurses Join Growing List of Nursing Groups Supporting Medical Marijuana | Media Scan: Reason on Pain, Cockburn on Webb, Grits for Breakfast, Faith Under Fire, BJS | This Week in History | Apply Now to Intern at Drcnet! | Job Opportunity at MAPS | DrugWarMarket.Com Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

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