The newspaper has reported that the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) received 77 licence applications by July 2019 compared to 24 for the whole of 2018 and just seven in 2016
There are now almost 1,000 acres registered for cultivating crops of hemp, a form of cannabis, and this is expected to rise to as much as 5,000 acres.
Industry expert Kaya O’Riordan of CB1 Botanicals told a Teagasc conference that hemp could provide a lifeline for rural Ireland and create over 80,000 jobs.
She said we have a “very suitable soil and climate” for cultivating the hardy crops and should exploit this as the industry is set to explode globally.
At the same conference James De Melloe urged farmers to take up contracts to grow the plant offered by his firm deDanu in Athlone.
He said: “Ireland is a gateway to Europe, has globally competitive tax rates, research incentives and a highly educated workforce.
“This country can compete at an international level and is uniquely positioned to capture a significant portion of the global marketplace.”