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Hemp Un-banned in Eastern Cape

Posted on June 22, 2000

By Cybernac Online (Pty) Ltd

The Eastern Cape’s minister of agriculture, Max Mamase, recently remarked that he expects farmers in the province to be granted a special license by year’s end that would allow them to grow hemp commercially.

According to Mamase the national departments of agriculture, health and and environmental affairs are currently involved in the drafting of new legislation that would see the granting of permits to farmers to grow the much maligned plant as a commercial crop.

The Agricultural Research Council was, in the meanwhile, working on a hybrid that would be ideally suited to local growing conditions.

“Hemp farmers can easily earn R5000 ($722.50),” stated Mamase, adding that the crop is ideally suited to the Eastern Cape region, given the region’s high levels of poverty and it’s reliance on subsistence farming.

The commercial cultivation of hemp is sure to herald an about-turn for rural households, most of whom subsist on a tiny monthly income (a fraction of Hemp’s per-acre earning potential).

The minister commented that the introduction of Hemp would, furthermore, make positive contributions to the method of production on communal farms.

Hemp has exceptionally strong fibres that have three times the tensile strength of cotton and are softer, warmer, more water resistant and naturally resistant to ultraviolet light.

The plant has also been advocated as a wonder crop that can greatly reduce the environmental degradation caused by the tree-based pulp and paper industry as it produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis.

Family of marijuana, hemp has a multitude of additional uses from medicine to fuel, but it does not contain any THC (the intoxicating substance found in marijuana).

Still feared and reviled in the wake of post-60’s Calvanism, Hemp’s cousin, marijuana, is already extensively cultivated throughout impoverished rural SA and provides many families with an indispensable additional income.

Unlike marijuana, however, hemp produces no purple haze, and poses no palpable threat to Calvanist (and colonialist) morality.

Mamase commented that he expects Hemp to be legalised within the country as a whole within the next 3 years; a move that will herald an end to industrial imperialism and the privileged status accorded to certain products which replaced 10,000 years of global hemp cultivation.

Patentable synthetic products, tree-based paper, petroleum, cotton, and the like, replaced Hemp, which was banned world-wide in the early 20th century.

It would seem, however, that SA is finally re-instigating the cultivation of this multi-purposed crop.

“For the next phase of our hemp project we are taking all six cultivars and we will initiate commercial production,” stated Mamase, adding that the project will be off the ground by year’s end in the Eastern Cape region.

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