They hope hemp production will become a major industry on the fertile Liverpool Plains.
Despite it's long history, industrial hemp has struggled to gain acceptance as a mainstream crop in Australia thanks to it's association species, marijuana.
Industrial hemp producer Eco-Fibre Industries’ managing director Phil Warner said while the plants were indistinguishable to the eye there were vast differences between the two species. Levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active ingredient that gives marijuana its potency – were less than one per cent in industrial hemp, meaning anybody who attempted to smoke the crop was more likely to be left with a headache than a high.
Mr. Warner said, “There’s a lot of misinformation about industrial hemp."
Increased hemp production could have the unintended benefit of forcing marijuana production out of growing regions.
“The last thing (illegal marijuana growers) want is a healthy hemp industry,” Mr Warner said.
Accidental cross-pollination be-tween the two species would have the affect of lowering the potency of the illegal crops,” he said.
NSW granted the first licences for industrial hemp – for fibre use only – in 2008.