Hemp production has become a "sexy new industry" so Rangitikei District Council is holding an information session for people who want to get a foot in the door.

Gioia Damosso, the council's strategic advisor for economic development, said the information session on Tuesday, July 30, is in collaboration with Whanganui & Partners and is supported by Rangitīkei iwi Ngā Wairiki - Ngāti Apa who own Te Poho o Tuariki, the venue for the session.

The aim is to help people get started in the industry and ensure they follow best practice "from day one".

"Hemp has become a sexy new industry," Damosso said.

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"There's been some stigma around it because of the plant's resemblance to marijuana but the level of THC is much lower – you can't smoke it and get high. It's important to understand the difference between the two plants and what they can be used for.

"There has been some softening of the regulations around hemp recently and use of hemp seeds for human consumption."

There are already a number of businesses in Rangitīkei and Whanganui involved in the hemp industry, including Hemp Connect which grows hemp at Kauangaroa and has its processing plant in Whanganui and Cannock Harvest near Marton, Damosso said.
"We're getting lots of interest from people who are looking at doing it so we thought we'd put on an information session."

Speakers will include a representative of the New Zealand Hemp Industry Association who will give an overview of the industry and Dr Michael Nichols will talk from a scientific and environment perspective.

"We'll also have a couple of local farmers to talk about their motivation behind diversifying into hemp. There's a lot of land in the Rangitīkei and Whanganui districts and it will be good to look at alternative uses and ways to make money from it.

"There are hundreds of uses for hemp. It can be made into protein, hemp seed oil, for building materials, vitamins, cosmetics and it's a superfood. There are lots of possibilities of what you can do with it.

"Hopefully we will form a bit of a hemp community to share resources and let people know what resources and support networks are available for them."

About 70 people have registered for the information day so far.

The information session is at 2pm-5pm on Tuesday, July 30, at Te Poho o Tuariki, 85 Hendersons Line, Marton. To register contact Gioia Damosso on 027 252 7436 or email gioia.damosso@rangitikei.govt.nz by Friday, July 26.

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