Dorset seeks cannabis industry

DORSET is bidding to be a world- leading industrial cannabis producer, as the state government seemingly softens its opposition in the face of strong interest.

Councils around the state are pushing for a medicinal cannabis industry after Tasman Health Cannabinoids and the University of Tasmania unsuccessfully asked the state government to approve a medicinal cannabis trial.

Dorset Mayor Barry Jarvis said yesterday the council would tomorrow consider an agenda item to push for a cannabis industry in the municipality.

Cr Jarvis said if the council agreed, he would write to the state and federal governments for the necessary approvals.

He said industrial cannabis could be big and would go well with the existing poppy industry that produces medical opium.

Industrial cannabis was broad- acre crop that produced fibre and seeds used in food and clothing and had a tiny THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) level compared with the illicit drug and medicinal cannabis.

Cr Jarvis said the product had been approved as a food by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand but the necessary law change was bogged down in bureaucracy, apparently for political reasons.

"It's a niche market that has a high profit margin," Cr Jarvis said of industrial cannabis, also called industrial hemp.

"Everyone grows potatoes and carrots but not a lot of countries grow industrial hemp."

A state government spokesman invited the council and anyone else to make a submission to the Legislative Council's medicinal cannabis inquiry.

"The government supports this inquiry and will consider the report of the committee when it is released," the spokesman said.

"Our reasons for rejecting the trial proposed by Tasman Health Cannabinoids to us have been clear - it didn't address key concerns around security, safety and the potential for social harm."

The Huon Valley and Derwent Valley councils want a medical cannabis trial.

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