Hikurangi Enterprises hemp trial is ready for harvest and this Friday the community can come and smell, touch and smoke the plant, and learn what all the hype is about.
Hikurangi Enterprises secured a licence from the Health Ministry last year to establish a small trial crop of industrial hemp in Ruatoria this growing season and planted it in mid-December.
General manager Panapa Ehau says the crop had grown well and they had about 5000 plants ready to harvest. “We have kept the location secret to protect the crop from curious public, but we are now keen to let the public see, smell, touch and smoke the plant so they get a better understanding of its properties.”
One of the biggest misconceptions and curiosities was the ability to smoke industrial hemp. However, due to the low THC level, one person would have to smoke a joint “the size of a power pole” to get a high from a hemp crop. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research has verified the THC level in the crop is less than 0.1 percent, which complies with government regulations for industrial hemp production.
The harvest process will involve removing the whole plant, as Hikurangi Enterprises is seeking to use the roots as well as the stalks, seeds and seed husks. The trial was to look at a wide range of alternative ways of using local whenua that was beneficial for the land, would provide jobs and make a profit. The possibilities for industrial hemp include foodstuffs, health products, textiles and as a housing solution.
Mr Ehau says with the decriminilisation of marijuana likely in the near future, they also needed to look at alternative industries for the region. “We need to be at the forefront to ensure we have a viable alternative that can earn even more money now and into the future.”
The harvest will take place this Friday. Those interested need to meet at EIT campus Ruatoria on Hekiera Street at 8.30am to travel to the location. Some transport will be provided. Bring water and shared kai for lunch.