Industrial Hemp and its Potential for New Zealand
A Report for the 1999 Kellogg Rural Leadership Course, November 1999
Addendum 2004. While the technical and historical aspects
of this report are still valid, the political situation in New Zealand regarding
industrial hemp production has changed considerably since the report was written. If you require current information on the political situation
I suggest you contact the Green
Party or the NZ
Hemp Industries Association Inc.
- Cultivation and use of hemp predates written history. It was a critical
crop for a number of civilisations including Europe.
- Industrial hemp is a herbaceous annual with phenomenal rates of growth.
It is relatively easy to grow, though it requires good land, high levels of
nutrients and water. It has few pest or disease problems apart from birds.
Under most conditions it will out-compete and smother weeds.
- It produces a very high quality oil, high quality fibre, and has a considerable
number of potential end uses.
- The levels of industrial hemp production and consumption have been continually
falling throughout the world over the last two hundred years due to competition
from other products and prohibition.
- While Industrial hemp is the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
it has no psychoactive properties and is of no value to the drug community.
It will not exacerbate marijuana use. On the contrary, it will harm marijuana
production by cross fertilisation, destroying seed lines and reducing the
psychoactive value of marijuana crops.
- Industrial hemp can only be grown in New Zealand under licence from the
Ministry of Health. There is currently a moratorium on the consideration of
- There are a small number of potential outlets for industrial hemp grown
in New Zealand. Organic hempseed is the most clearly identified of these.
The economics of hemp production appear to be moderate. There are a number
of technical, and economic problems with quality fibre production. There is
greater potential for lower grade fibres in terms of possible end uses.
- New Zealand along with the USA are one of the few remaining countries that
do not allow production of, or are trialing, industrial hemp. Europe, Canada
and Australia are all producing or investigating industrial hemp. This is
putting New Zealand at a social and economic disadvantage.
- There are many overly enthusiastic and unfounded claims for industrial hemp.
Such claims have been reiterated in material promoting industrial hemp produced
in New Zealand.
- The potential for industrial hemp to become a weed is unknown.
- Industrial hemp offers the New Zealand agricultural and processing industries
a possibly useful new product to trial.
- That the potential for industrial hemp to become a weed is established.
- That the moratorium on the consideration of granting industrial hemp licences
should be immediately removed.
- That the Ministry of Agriculture take over from the Ministry of Health as
a more appropriate Governmental Department to co-ordinate the re-introduction
of industrial hemp.
- That the Industrial Hemp Working Party, recommended by Dr Boyd, be rapidly
formed to establish the systems and licences required for industrial hemp
- That a government funded, thorough, economic and agronomic study of industrial
hemp's potential in New Zealand be completed.
- That trial / research crops in potential industrial hemp growing areas be
planted to gain accurate economic and agronomic information.
- That farmers and communities that wish to grow industrial hemp are granted
Download report and source material
report in Adobe PDF format 429 KB
of the documents used in the report, ZIP archive 2.6 MB (originals in various
Website of the NZ Hemp Industries Association Inc.