The latest crop from arable farmer Frank Franzen from Dirksland attracts attention. Just outside Oude-Tonge, he has planted a polder full of hemp plants. It is a trial. “But there is no THC in it, so if you smoke it, nothing will happen.”
Franzen is looking for sustainable materials to make chipboard. Hemp fiber would be particularly suitable for this. The big advantage is that no trees need to die in this way.
“This is already happening on a large scale in France and Germany”, Franzen explains. “But here hemp still has a bad image, because of the drug use. Even though it is a very sustainable plant. Spraying against weeds and fungi, for example, is not necessary at all.”
Anyone who drives past the field will smell the well-known weed smell. According to Franzen, that is simply in the DNA of cannabis. Franzen does get questions about it, but after his explanation there is mainly understanding. The THC, the active substance in cannabis that gets you high, has been fully developed.
“Local residents do not have to fear shady practices. This is completely legal. We have also let the municipality and the police know in advance. It is mainly new and innovative.”
There are large signs with explanations along the field, to reassure people and to prevent thieves from taking the plants, because they think they can turn them into soft drugs.
The link to drug use on Goeree-Overflakkee is therefore quickly made. A trial with hemp could be sensitive, given the problems on the island. “When I read the articles about the high usage, I was shocked for a moment, but we are happy to inform the consumer and hope that there will be admiration that such a pilot is possible here. We should be proud of it, I think.”
The plants are harvested in September.