Minister open-minded on hemp farming

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Cape Town - It is unlikely that people will smoke hemp so government will do a rethink on hemp farming, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said at a press conference.

Asked whether government was considering allowing hemp farming, the minister said that although it was "in the family of (the drug) marijuana" he did not think "anybody would smoke hemp... it is not the same as marijuana".

The minister, appointed last year, said the hemp plant products could be used for "industrial purposes".

Referring to the Minister of Health, he said: "The minister has shown willingness to engage" on the matter of farming hemp and producing hemp products.

The minister said that the department would be meeting with scientists to consider the topic and his department had raised the matter with the Minister of Health.

He also suggested that "burning" the hemp plants in the past may not have been "put forward correctly by ourselves", acknowledging that there were "poverty stricken places like the Eastern Cape (where you) would grow it".

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