VICTORIAN legislation allowing its farmers to grow commercial poppy crops is expected to pass the upper house before the end of March, but would still not guarantee Victoria a commercial poppy industry.
Poppy Growers Tasmania president Glynn Williams described the move as an audacious grab that had been tried before, by Western Australia.
``Western Australia didn't get permission from the federal government to grow poppies and I can't see any compelling reason why the decision should be any different this time around,'' he said.
``The decision ultimately comes from the federal bureaucracy and involves a number of agencies - there is no free trade in narcotics.
``We are in the process of finalising a meeting with the assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash and will be travelling to Canberra in the very near future to talk to her.
``Obviously, we take [moves like this by other states] very seriously and our committee will be meeting this week - we could well discuss some other measures.
``While we do have a self interest in seeing poppies remain solely in Tasmania, the objective reality is that there are many other, non-commercial, considerations to be taken into account.
``In our view, the tragic death by misadventure last week of someone experimenting with the poppy crop, tends to highlight the many factors that are relevant to growing a narcotic crop.''
Mr Williams said that Australia was a signatory to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the treaty commitments were replicated in Australian law through the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967.
``That act requires that the relevant minister, including the Health Minister, has to make decisions in accordance with the treaty,'' he said.
``The treaty, among other things, is against the proliferation of opiates unnecessarily and we are concerned that a rapid expansion into Victoria, it could totally stuff it up for Australia as a whole, because other countries would decide they could ramp up their own production.''
Mr Williams said that it would be of ``much greater benefit'' to all processors to concentrate on improving productivity in Tasmania as it would concentrate the growing area and lead to better returns.