The government of Pakistan has approved the use of industrial cannabis and hemp in the country. Through the Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, the government said the move would propel the country to the billion-dollar Cannabidiol (CBD) market.
Industrial cannabis and hemp
According to Chaudhry, the country has approved the domestication and commercialization of medicinal and industrial cannabis and hemp. The minister called it a landmark decision that would help boost the country’s economy by joining the Cannabidiol (CBD) market.
Cabinet has approved the first license for @MinistryofST and PCSIR (Pakistan Council or Scientific and Industrial Research) for industrial and medical use of Hemp… [The] landmark decision will place Pakistan in billions of USD CBD market, Chaudhry tweeted.
The decision followed a series of comprehensive deliberations between different state departments. Pakistan aims to import a specific variety of cannabis seeds to manufacture CBD.
Speaking to reporters during a press briefing in Islamabad, Chaudhry recently said:
CBD compound plays an important role in therapeutic medicine. After 2016, breakthrough research was unveiled which prompted China to set up a cannabis research department and is now cultivating hemp on 40,000 acres.
Focus on low-THC cannabis
The minister added that Pakistan plans to grow a specific strain of cannabis with legal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—around 0.3% or lower. The country recognizes the fact that a higher level of THC is intoxicating and banned in many parts of the world.
According to the minister, hemp seeds are used in manufacturing oil, leaves for inventing medication, and stems for fibre production. Chaudhry added that hemp fibres are gradually replacing cotton in the textile 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. This is under government control, so further research can be done and adequate safeguards through the ministry of narcotics can be placed,” Chaudhry said.
The minister anticipated the hemp market to produce $1 billion in revenue for the country in the next three years. He added that the country has invested in research, cultivation, production, and exports for medical research and industrial purposes to help it realize this revenue.
The ministry has explored specific areas in the Potohar region in northern Punjab, which it considers adequate for growing hemp-based on its climatic conditions. The decision is part of the larger initiative by the ministry of science on precision agriculture. Under the initiative, the ministry is developing niche projects focused on non-traditional agriculture.