As a region we have a great climate for growing cannabis. We have a skill base that already exists for growing the plant and the crop is beneficial to the whenua (land) and waterways. There is potential for multiple income streams for whānau. Industrial Hemp is a low-THC variety of cannabis sativa – it is the same plant as marijuana but has no compounds producing psychotropic effects.
Uses of Hemp
Hemp is one of the most useful plants on Earth. For thousands of years, humans have used parts of the hemp plant for food, textiles, paper, fabric and fuel oil. Today, modern processing technologies have made it possible to create alternatives to gasoline, plastic, and other petroleum products that can help the human race lessen its reliance on polluting and expensive fossil fuels.
The hemp plant is a renewable resource that can be produced domestically. It grows quickly, naturally resists many plant diseases, requires little weeding, thrives in most climates, and enriches the soil it grows in.
Food and Nutrition
Hempseeds and hemp oil are highly nutritious and delicious. Hempseeds are an excellent source of protein, minerals, and dietary fibre. Hemp is the only plant that contains all of the essential fatty acids and amino acids required by the human body. These essential nutrients affect a variety of body functions, including metabolism, the skin, mood, behaviour, the brain, and the heart.
Due to its high content of beneficial oils and natural emollient properties, hemp is becoming a common ingredient in lotions and many other skin, hair, and cosmetic products. It is a good alternative to the toxic chemicals present in many petroleum based lotions and cosmetics.
Hemp is an ideal material for making paper. It regenerates in the field in months (unlike trees which can take 30 years or more to become harvestable after planting.) Moving towards the use of hemp for paper can help save the world’s forests. Historically, hemp has been used to make paper for thousands of years. It makes a fine quality paper that is naturally acid free and does not become yellow and brittle or disintegrate over time like conventional paper.
Fabric, Textiles, and Rope
Hemp can be used to make a variety of fabrics, similar to but more durable than cotton. Hemp is also excellent for making rugs and other textiles. The word canvas comes from the Latin word for hemp. The oldest known woven fabric was made from hemp. It was a common material for clothing until the cotton industry gained strength in America. Hemp is the traditional rope making fibre due to its flexibility, strength, and resistance to water damage. In past centuries, hemp was extremely important to the Navy, the shipping trade, and fishing because it was used to make ropes, riggings, nets, and sails.
For centuries, Hemp oil was used as lamp oil. It began to be phased out in America in the 1870s when petroleum was introduced. Today, hemp oil can be used to create biofuels to replace gasoline for diesel engines. Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels are renewable and produce less of the greenhouse gas carbon monoxide.
Standard plastic is made from fossil fuels using toxic chemicals. Almost everything we buy is wrapped in cellophane and our landfills are full of it. A variety of alternatives to plastic can be made from hemp. The number of available products made from hemp plastics is on the increase as awareness of the importance of developing sustainable alternatives grows.
Hemp based materials can replace wood and other materials used to build homes and other structures including foundations, walls, shingles, paneling, pipes, and paint.
The modern hemp building materials Hempcrete and Isochanvre are lightweight, waterproof, fireproof, self-insulating, and resistant to pests.
Current markets Hikurangi Enterprises is developing products for:
- Hempseed oil – cold pressed seed oil
- Health products (hemp seed oil) – healing balms, baby oils, etc.
- Fibre for building, textiles and industrial composites
Potential Markets – currently illegal:Hempseed food – protein powder and flakes. Legislative law change due soon. Hempseed foods are banned in NZ and Australia New Zealand allowed itself an exception for hemp seed oil, and food products containing hemp seed oil, while the seeds can still be used or exported for animal feed or other purposes.
- CBD extract. Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 85 cannabinoids presently identified in the cannabis plant and is the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana after THC. CBD interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic. We have applied for a research licence with the Ministry of Health and in discussions with government and private organisations to do research on developing products.
Growing hemp in New Zealand
A general licence is applied for from The Ministry of Health. It costs $511.11 including GST. A licence is issued for a period of one year. This allows for the cultivation, processing, possession and supply of low THC cannabis varieties approved by the Director-General of Health. A research and breeding licence is issued only if the applicant holds a general licence and is an additional $153.33 including GST. It allows for the cultivation and processing of approved and non-approved varieties.
All hemp must be tested for its THC level and have less than 0.35 % THC content. This is carried out by ESR and costs around $800.
- The New Zealand Hemp Industry Association (NZHIA) is a good place to start for information.
- The Ministry of Health website has guidelines and contacts for licensing to grow.
Contact for Hikurangi Enterprises
Panapa Ehau: Tel. 0272000747 / Email: panapa[at]hikurangi.enterprises