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



VIDEO: Eco event about so much more than surfing

Abysse swimwear co-director Hanalei Reponty models local brand mermaid flippers by Mahina Mer-Fins. Photo by Alina Rylko.

Crowds drop-in by the thousands to colourful surf festival at Byron.

GALLERY: Police raid Nimbin shop

A man will face court today on alleged drug supply charges after a raid at a Nimbin shop

Police executed a search warrant at a store on Cullen Street

She confronts her abuser after 50 years, forces a confession

SURVIVOR: Debbie McDonald was sexually abused by her stepfather almost 50 years ago.

"This is our little secret" he would tell her.

Local Partners

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Motorists gave their morale suuport to a street protest about refugees on Saturday


Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Top 10 things to do this weekend

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Are you looking to get out and about over the next two days?

Teeing off to support Jodie's Inspiration

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Vie for the top of the leaderboard, if you dare

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!