Pakistan made a bold move when they decided to allow commercial, domestic, medical cannabis and hemp production within the nation. The hemp, at least for now, will be grown at an Herbal Medicine Park based in Jhelum.
“Cabinet has approved the first license for @MinistryofST and PCSIR [Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research] for industrial and medical use of Hemp… [The] landmark decision will place Pakistan in billions of USD CBD market,” minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhry announced on Twitter in an exciting update.
This is a huge step for Pakistan, as this will help them enter the CBD market and become viable players in the hemp and non-THC industries and earn some of the much needed-income that the market generates. It took much deliberation between government departments to make this happen, but the hope is now that the industry will generate income for the community. The plan is to import specific cannabis seeds in order to grow CBD-containing cannabis that can be used for medical purposes.
The Plan For Pakistani Pot
The plan so far is for Pakistan to grow plants that contain only legal levels of THC, about 0.3 percent or below. This will keep them within legal compliance in the market and allow them to enter the CBD industry. The hemp seeds will be used for producing oil, leaves for medicine, and even fibers made from hemp stems to help replace cotton.
“CBD compounds play an important role in therapeutic medicine. After 2016, a breakthrough research was unveiled which prompted China to set up a cannabis research department and is now cultivating hemp on 40,000 acres, and Canada is cultivating it on 100,000 acres,” Chaudhry told reporters regarding the decision to move into the industry.
“Worldwide, this fibre is replacing cotton. Clothes, bags, and other textile products are being made using this plant’s fibre. This is a $25 billion market and Pakistan can take a big share in this market,” Chaudhry added. “This is under government control, so further research can be done and adequate safeguards through ministry of narcotics can be placed.”
Despite hesitations in Pakistan based on stigma and THC-containing cannabis still being illegal, the minister and the rest of those who made the decision hope they will bring in good revenue from the CBD industry. The hemp market is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for Pakistan over the next three years, as different areas including cultivation and production, research, and exports of medical cannabis become a reality in the area. Most of the hemp will be grown in the Potohar region, which is in northern Punjab. The climate there works well for growing hemp outdoors.
Overall, this is part of the science ministry’s plan to hone in on which products based in non-traditional agriculture practices are worth developing. While it is still early days to see what the cannabis industry is going to look like in Pakistan, this is a huge step forward into the CBD industry, and it will be interesting to see what follows.