High time for hemp


TO the untrained eye industrial hemp looks and smells identical to the infamous illicit ‘pot’ plant. The problem is there’s little to suggest our short-sighted government can’t tell the difference either, despite efforts from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).
I’ve only ever smoked three things in my life.
The first was a puff of a “barky” (rolled up bark off a gumtree) behind the wood shed when I was 13. Its flavour, in a word: bushfire. Symptoms: watery eyes, coughing, sore throat, sick tummy and consequent concern about my own levels of stupidity.
The second was a decade later in Amsterdam. Given marijuana’s legality there, I tried to be ultra cool as I choofed on a doobie. Flavour: Musky and herbaceous. Symptoms: bloodshot eyes, coughing, dizziness, extreme hunger and then immediate tiredness. Actually, it was much like Kevin Rudd’s Saturday night following the election: confused, disappointed and in bed by 10pm.
The third was in Queensland. At a party on a farm, a neighbour who was a commercial hemp grower brought around a mature plant for show-and-tell. Hours later during a game of truth and dare the inevitable happened and it was chopped, rolled and smoked. Flavour: see marijuana description. Symptoms: see “barky” – nothing.
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