Auckland, New Zealand — In a statement to the media, New Zealand Customs Minister Phillida Bunkle has given her officials the go ahead to start negotiating with industry representatives to develop trial plots of industrial hemp. Minister Bunkle said that industrial hemp offered a unique opportunity for regional development in New Zealand.
“Industrial hemp trials can be conducted under existing legislation, but it would still need government approval for the product to be grown commercially. If the trials are successful, we envisage removing hemp from the Misuse of Drugs Act and regulating it under the Customs and Excise Act. I am personally convinced that hemp is a wonderful natural product and it presents us with an excellent opportunity for economic development in many regions currently experiencing difficulties,” she said. Ms. Bunkle said that the trials could begin as soon as summer.
An inter-government agency has already given approval to industrial hemp and a meeting between hemp advocates and Customs officials will occur on August 21, 2000. Currently, New Zealand imports more than $1 million in hemp products annually.
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