Australia: Hemp for homes?

by Annie Gaffney, ABC, Queensland

There is a truth that must be heard! Did you know that up until the nineteen forties, if you were going camping your tent would have been made of canvas, and the tie down ropes would have been made of hemp.

The material hemp comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant, and it has stacks of applications. You might have even bought yourself a hemp shirt for instance.

It's exciting to hear though that hemp is now being used in a new building material that could be the way forward when it comes to producing truly sustainable housing. Dr Andrew Katelaris is a medical doctor and cannabis campaigner. He's appeared in a documentary called The Hemp Revolution and he's organised two courses on this new building product called hempcrete.

Dr Katelaris has long championed the use of medical marijuana for pain relief in patients. According to an ABC Catalyst online article, he's described as a maverick in the area of the science on this though. He was charged by police back in 2006 for growing a large crop of cannabis and was banned by the NSW medical tribunal for self administration of the drug and giving it to patients. Annie started by asking him to clarify these issues.

A spokeswoman says Food Standards Australia New Zealand is currently going through the final public submission phase on including hemp as a food in Australia and New Zealand. People have until February the 15th to make a submission to FANZS. This will be the final round of public comment. FANZS board will make its decision based on the submissions and then that will be notified to the state and territory ministers. They have 60 days to comment or accept. If they accept, then it will be gazetted.

(photo: Eliza Wood ABC rural Table Cape)