A Lake Hawea man is promoting the farming of the "industrial hemp" version of the cannabis plant.

T.J. Irvin is well known in the Upper Clutha for his "slammer tool", used for digging, but is now turning some of his attention to growing cannabis.

"It is time we grew up and started looking at it as a crop that can be farmed for profit — building materials, food, medicine."

He has organised an information session to be held at Lake Hawea on September 5, but is making clear the cannabis he is talking about is not the "recreational" variety but one of 12 cultivars approved by the Ministry of Health.


Mr Irvin has a licence to grow industrial hemp and will be sowing 1ha of land on the West Coast this spring.

The long list of conditions of his licence includes the requirements to deer fence the land and provide a secure building for the crop once harvested.

Mr Irvin said his first crop last year failed because of the late arrival of seed, and drought conditions.

He hoped the oil from crops like his could be converted into a material to take the place of plastic bale wrap.

"There are some pioneers in this country that have been looking at this."

The plant had been put to many other uses in the past, and Mr Irvin said there was a worldwide revival of interest in it.