American hemp consumers still can't grow their own, but as of this week, they now have one more choice of where to import it from. The state government of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, Wednesday approved large-scale hemp farming and is set to begin considering license applications under the new plan.
Hemp is also environmentally friendly. It requires little water and grows quickly. In the US Midwest, feral hemp plants grow in abundance more than 60 years after fields were planted during World War II's "Hemp For Victory" campaign and then destroyed after the war.
"Industrial hemp has the potential to provide farmers with a much-needed additional fast-growing summer crop option that can be used in rotation with winter grain crops," said the Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, in remarks reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's a potentially lucrative industry due to its environmentally friendly nature."
Under the Hemp Industry Act regulations, farmers must be licensed, fields must be audited and regularly inspected, and police must test the crop to ensure that it has insignificant THC levels.
Some 200 people have contacted the Department of Primary Industries to inquire about growing hemp, the Morning Herald reported.
Australia will now join Canada, China, and a number of European countries as hemp producers. The US will continue to import the hemp it consumes. Tough luck, American farmers.