Pakistan’s Science Ministry has announced plans to enter the legal cannabis industry, with the country announcing the importation of cannabis seeds.
Although Pakistan has a long history of harsh drug laws, the country now intends to enter the $25 billion cannabidiol (CBD) market. The federal cabinet approved the country’s first non-psychoactive hemp license on Tuesday as the cabinet is exploring several non-traditional agriculture projects.
Addressing the international media in Islamabad, Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry cited the successful CBD industries of Canada and China as inspiration. The Canadian government is currently cultivating 100,000 acres of hemp, while the Chinese government is cultivating 40,000 acres.
Chaudhry plans on generating Pakistan $1 billion from the government’s hemp initiative in the next three years.
The hemp will be grown in the Potohar region using imported seeds. The Northern Punjab area has a tropical climate and is considered the ideal environment for hemp. The government only be growing hemp with levels of THC below 0.3%.
The harvested hemp will be certified for internal export by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Services (ICCBS).
Minister Chaudry intends to use the hemp for three purposes. Hemp seeds will be used in the production of CBD oil, leaves will be used for medication and stem fibres will be used to replace cotton in the garment industry. ICCBS has also recommended Pakistan consider investing in the development of shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.
In a statement to reporters, Chaudhry was quoted as saying:
Worldwide this fibre is replacing cotton. This is a $25 billion market and Pakistan can take a big share in this market
Australia is also on the edge of a hemp-based-clothing breakthrough, with a hemp-based t-shirt using 66% less water than a cotton one.
Read that story here.