April 24, 2011 – Support for an online petition entitled “Hemp Now”, calling for the immediate legalisation of industrial hemp, has snowballed with more than 300 signatories and more signing on by the day. The Hemp Now campaign wants hemp – a type of cannabis plant that does not have the intoxicating THC compound found in cannabis that is smoked or ingested to “get high” – to be legalised for its 50,000 recorded uses, including clothing, eco-friendly building materials and paper. Hemp seed and oil is also rich in vitamins and the Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, leading advocates to label it a “super food”.
Tony Budden, spokesperson for Hemp Now and a partner in Hemporium, which imports hemp for use in South Africa, said: “As a company that has been manufacturing and selling hemp products for 15 years, Hemporium is tired of having to import our raw material and supporting the industry in other countries, when we can see how it has the potential to provide jobs, houses and nutrition – three very necessary and under-supplied components of our society. Hemp can do this in a way that benefits the environment too, and we feel South Africa has the potential to become a world leader in the ethical and environmental hemp industry.”
The Hemp Now petition calls for hemp to be legalised immediately across South Africa to join the 28 countries worldwide that have already legalised the growth of the plant for industrial purposes.
The campaign also emphasises that it wants to put an end to “botanical racism”, arguing that hemp is unfairly viewed as a drug whereas it has no intoxicating effects and its legalisation would help to create a more sustainable economy and a green future for South Africa.
The clout the petition will have is still unknown, but Budden is hoping for long-term positive results: “The petition is part of a larger movement that is currently building a lot of momentum with regards to hemp in South Africa. It is effective in giving a voice to supporters of hemp who often feel frustrated by the stagnation of hemp research and don’t have a way of communicating their opinions regarding this valuable resource.” Source.