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Look to hemp, Liberal advises farmers

Posted on March 30, 2005

Toronto, Ontario — Letting Ontario tobacco farms go to pot may be the best way to save them, Queen’s Park heard yesterday. Agriculture Minister Steve Peters says industrial hemp could be a viable option for tobacco farmers who are struggling to survive in today’s dwindling smokers’ market.

“It has a great opportunity to be used not only in the paper business, but in fibres, in cloths, in oils, and we know that we can grow hemp in this province,” Peters said.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos said the province should go one step further and allow tobacco farmers to grow medical marijuana and, if legalized, pot for the recreational user.

“The demand has never been greater here,” Kormos said. “Why are we letting biker gangs grow it in grow operations with illegal hydro hookups when we could be letting former tobacco farmers earn a living doing it.”

The Ontario government announced a $50-million fund yesterday for tobacco farmers — with $35 million going to farmers wishing to switch crops.

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