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Controversial hemp farmer wins award

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Controversial hemp farmer wins award
08:41 CET+01:00
Farmer Ulf Hammarsten has been awarded an environmental prize by officials Laholm for his decision to fight a ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp all the way to the EU courts.

When Hammarsten first began growing the crop seven years ago, police soon arrived at his farm in western Sweden and dug up all his plants.

Hammarsten faced criminal charges for narcotics offences. But he stuck to his task and eventually earned the right to continue growing hemp when he defeated the Swedish authorities in an EU court case.

"It became clear to me quite early that this was an environmentally friendly crop that cleanses the earth. Hemp sucks up substances that destroy the soil such as industrial fertilizer and pesticides," Hammarsten told Sveriges Radio.

The Laholm farmer's court victory spelled the end of a thirty year ban on the growth of industrial hemp. While the plant can be used to generate cannabis, the industrial uses of hemp include the production of paper, food oil, fuel, paint, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The plant also grows quickly and is easy to harvest.

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