TRUDI Tompson devoted her final months to bringing hemp back to Scottish fields.

Now her husband aims to convince Scotland’s party of government to help reintroduce the crop to beat climate change, economic decline and cancer.

Geoff Tompson, 70, told the Sunday National: “I’d be delighted to see this realised for her. It’s something that’s worthy of support and would benefit Scotland.”

Once commonly grown across the UK, industrial strains of hemp are far removed from those exploited by the illegal drug trade, with low levels of the compounds which cause a “high”.

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Currently subject to a strict Home Office licensing regime, it was cultivated in Fife from the 1000s to the 1700s, and was also grown in Caithness, the Lothians, the Outer Hebrides and Galloway thanks to its versatility, strength and ease of production.

The plant’s long fibres were turned into ropes and sails, fuelling the development of the country’s fishing fleets. As well as clothing, animal feed and papermaking, modern uses for industrial hemp include building materials, biofuels, health foods and toiletries.

Additionally, it is the target of cutting-edge research aimed at delivering new treatments for cancer.

Trudi’s condition was diagnosed less than six months after the couple reunited.

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They first met 39 years earlier while training for roles in the RAF, and lost touch as their careers took different paths, with Geoff becoming a navigator and Melbourne-born Trudi a Russian linguist.

Undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and using alternative therapies, she beat the condition for eight years and six months, dying last autumn at the age of 66.

The National:

While her interest in industrial hemp began as the couple planned a self-build in Helensburgh, relocating from Dorchester in 2014 after a visit to Glasgow sparked the idea, it later developed to encompass the plant’s pharmaceutical potential. Before her death, she wrote a motion she aimed to present to the SNP conference, which calls for the devolution of industrial hemp growing licenses to the Scottish Parliament in order to “allow Scotland to maximise the potential benefits” of the crop.

That has now been included on the draft agenda for the party’s autumn summit, after being put forward by friends at the Helensburgh branch.

The call recognises the “increasing commercialisation of industrial hemp as a universally beneficial product globally”, and says that unless the UK Government devolves responsibility for its cultivation, current controls under the Misuse of Drugs Act “prevent the Scottish Government from pursuing a strategy for promoting increased industrial hemp cultivation and usage”.

Geoff said: “The more she dug, the more it became clear that we have an opportunity for Scotland to embrace a crop that has many uses, is well suited to growing here and indeed was widely grown in the past. It’s not about bringing a new crop to Scotland, it’s about reintroducing an old one, and one that could help the economy in places like Argyll and Bute, where farmers need some help and where the land is perhaps not good for other arable crops.”

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According to plant expert Dr Max Coleman of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, it’s a sound case. He said: “It’s an incredibly useful plant and was in the past incredibly

important across the UK. We should recognise that potential. It will grow perfectly well in Scotland – maybe with climate change it will grow better than it did before. Hemp is a pretty trouble-free crop, there aren’t many things that bother it. It’s something we should be considering.”

The Sunday National asked the Home Office how many licences are currently in effect for the cultivation of industrial hemp, and how many of these relate to land in Scotland, but the department said that information wasn’t available.

But a 2018 report by the United Nations revealed the UK is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of legal cannabis, sending 2.1 of its total 95 tonne total overseas in 2016. Most of that is in the form of the Sativex medical drug.

Trudi, who had tumours in her lungs, ribs, spine and brain, was denied the chance to take medical cannabis by the Home Office. Her MP Brendan O’Hara, who made the request, is “fully behind” the appeal to the SNP membership. He said: “If the Scottish Government had responsibility for issuing licences for the commercial production of hemp, it could have important economic benefits.

“Industrial hemp does not contain the psychoactive substances that other cannabis plants have and so there is absolutely no link between commercial cultivation of hemp and illegal drug use. It is time we had a considered debate on this issue and hope that starts in Aberdeen in October.”