Growing a WA hemp industry

The most open pot-smoking town in Australia hosted the annual Nimbin Mardigrass earlier this month.

During the  festivities a Hemp Conference took place with a forum for key speakers to discuss the cannabis by-product.

One speaker was WA licensed hemp farmer Glenn Ossy-Orley who owns Total Hemp Company Australia.

He says Australia should be a leader in the hemp industry if recreational cannabis is legalized.

“We could end up being world leaders and that’s where I see Australia should be. Why is the world leader in the cannabis industry in Israel? We’ve got dedicated, educated people in the industry but unfortunately money rules everything” he says.

Mr Ossy-Orley says Nimbin is a revolutionary place when it comes to the potential cannabis economy.

“Nimbin has always been the capital of the cannabis industry, what was Nimbin known for, growing pot,” he says.

“What I have found in my journeys to Nimbin is that there are young people that are advanced in their knowledge of the cannabis plant that we should be listening to them. Just because they wear dreadies and they don’t look the same as a straight-A student, we tend to shun them”

The hemp farmer says Australians are among the highest users of recreational cannabis in the world and consequently our politicians should back the hemp industry.

“I hear Alannah MacTiernan speaking and I think she is dedicated to a cannabis industry. At least she’s putting her hand up and striving towards that procedure,” he says.

Nimbin brings in millions of dollars from tourism because of their cannabis reputation.

The cannabis-themed Mardigrass is world famous. Could recreational cannabis bring the same tourism boost to WA?

Professor of Tourism and Services Marketing at Edith Cowan University Sam Huang says WA isn’t particularly known for its recreational activities.

He says most tourists are brought here by the natural beauties and the introduction of cannabis would not change tourism numbers.

Mr. Ossy-Orley says tourism isn’t the priority, and recreational cannabis would mostly impact WA residents.

“I’m in the industry. It’s not just the dreadies that are involved with recreational use, it’s also ordinary Australians participating even though its illegal. The day its decriminalised is the day we move forward. In the industry, that’s when you’ll see mighty changes,” he says.

The cannabis conference and Nimbin Mardigrass are set to discuss progressive uses for cannabis, and the legal opportunities that could result from utilisation of the plant.

Glenn Ossy-Orley says the other states are still well in front of WA.

He says “I’m in Nimbin to learn and bring the information back to Western Australia and they call us the Wait Awhile state. They’re saying we’re bloody backwards. I don’t want to be a Wait Awhile state. I want to be a state that’s on the move, we should be the leaders.”

What do you think of the idea of legalised cannabis?