News

Federal Govt lets $100m hemp industry plan go begging

LOCAL entrepreneur Paul Benhaim has $100 million he wants to invest in a new rural industry but there's a catch.

Unless the Federal Government agrees this year to legalise the use of industrial hemp for food consumption, his funds will go elsewhere.

The long-time hemp expert, who runs Bangalow-based Hemp Foods Australia, has been tracked down by investors who see hemp seed-derived health foods as a potential boom industry.

"These are not alternative investors; they are basically New York big-money investors who realise that hemp is a big industry ready to move forward," Mr Benhaim said.

The Northern Star reported in February that Mr Benhaim was waiting for reform of the laws, which are being held up by the Federal Government despite approval by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

FSANZ was asked by the Federal Government to review its decision in December 2012 and late last year the Commonwealth extended the review period until June 30.

Food Standards have proven that no matter how many hemp seeds you eat, you will never get high

- Paul Benhaim of Hemp Foods Australia

ECONOMIC BOOSTER: Tiffani Brennan, business development manager and Paul Benhaim CEO of Hemp Foods Australia.
ECONOMIC BOOSTER: Tiffani Brennan, business development manager and Paul Benhaim CEO of Hemp Foods Australia. Doug Eaton

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation cited concerns that " 'branding' of this application as 'low THC hemp'... could result in public perception that the drug, cannabis, is acceptable and safe to consume".

This is nonsense, Mr Benhaim said.

"There's already regulations in place to govern the growth of industrial hemp in Australia - all they have to do is allow us to use those seeds as food," he said.

"Hemp foods are only made from products from the industrial hemp plant - there's no psychoactive properties in them whatsoever.

"Food Standards have proven that no matter how many hemp seeds you eat, you will never get high."

Mr Benhaim has $15 million "available immediately" to build a production plant.

He has found land in Victoria and northern Queensland to suit the requirements but is keen for organic farmers around Casino and Kyogle to approach him if they are serious about it.

"We want to grow a total of 500ha this year planted by September, which we would double next year," he said.

"But I can't do anything without legislative support.

"If it was to delay another year, I would have to advise them (the investors) to go outside the country."

Tasmanian independent Federal MP Andrew Wilkie has also called for the relaxing of the legislation to give Tasmanian farmers a much-needed economic boost via the fledgling hemp industry.

Topics:  federal government hemp marijuana politics



Teen refused bail over aggravated break and enter

A man and woman were arrested following a police chase last night at Blacksoil.

16-year-old Wollongbar male arrested over offences within Casino

Demolition starts on one of Casino's oldest buildings

68 Barker Street, Casino, built in the 1890s and formerly known as Holwood House.

The house had been left to deteriorate, now it's being knocked down

Local Partners

Toowoomba comedian becomes big hit on The Project

BIG NAME: Toowoomba comedian Damien Power will perform his new show Utopia at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

The Toowoomba comedian is preparing for his most hilarious show yet

'Allo 'Allo! star Gorden Kaye has died

Gorden Kaye, pictured in Brisbane in 2007, found fame as a cafe owner Rene Artois in the iconic British television series ‘Allo ‘Allo!

ACTOR Gorden Kaye, from BBC comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo!, has died.

Lion roars to straight to No 1 at Aussie box office

Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.

THE Australian-made movie a hit, while Rogue One nears record mark.

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Demolition starts on one of Casino's oldest buildings

68 Barker Street, Casino, built in the 1890s and formerly known as Holwood House.

The house had been left to deteriorate, now it's being knocked down

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Age no barrier to buying your first home

Older first home buyers are an increasing segment of the housing market.

Older buyers are a growing segment of the first home buyer market

Agents desperate for stock as homebuyers circle region

Coorabell houses had a whopping median sale price of $1.4 million.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

7 quirky Airbnb homes on the Northern Rivers

Broken Head Bodhi Treehouse

Stay in a shipping container or treehouse for your next holiday

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!