Pubdate: Fri, 03 Sep 1999 Source: Dorset Evening Echo (UK) Contact: Address: 57 St Thomas St, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8EU Fax: 01305 760387 Author: Miranda Holman


Lucrative European Union subsidies are being offered to farmers to give their land over to the growing of marijuana.

In a joint effort with Brussels and the Home Office, hemp is to be grown in British fields.

The mood-enhancing properties of the weed will not be felt, however, as the hemp is to be harvested to be used in products from animal bedding to cosmetics.

But would-be smokers scouring the countryside for free drugs will be disappointed.

No only will the fields be under tight security, in secret locations away from the roads, the variety of cannabis grown will be of a very low narcotic potency.


But in spite of the angry demonstrations by Dorset farmers over the collapse of their industry, would our local farmers leap at the chance to grow a controlled drug rather than use the land to feed their livestock?

Simpson said: "It's probably not worth it."

"From what I understand these plants grow enormously tall and are a heck of a job to mow and harvest. They produce very long, strong fibre which can be used for rope, but with nylon about there isn't much call for hemp."

Purbeck farmer Sax Purdie has been growing the crop for two years since getting out of farming in the BSE crisis: "Then I tried growing flax and gave up on that as there isn't really any call for it."


"With hemp the whole plant gets sold and used. It can be used for paper and it is a stronger, lighter and healthier alternative to glass fibre."