Pakistan Makes Positive Move On Cannabis

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

In a surprising move, Pakistan has decided to allow marijuana – and they hope it will help their national revenue. In a surprise, Pakistan is opening the door for legal cannabis. The Islamic country is 96% Muslim, with a belief from most scholars cannabis is similar to intoxicants/alcoholic drink and therefore deemed forbidden. The country’s northwestern region, especially the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is home to thousands of acres of land where the crop has been cultivated for hundreds of years. The governments has chosen to ignore rather than crack down on the businesses.

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But in an effort to help their economy, Pakistan makes positive move on cannabis. The country ranks as the 24th-largest based on the gross domestic project (GDP). When the country was formed, the US was a huge backer during the Cold War, but with the rise of the technology industry in India, they are having to build a broader, internal economy base. To help, it seems the country is embracing cannabis, CBD, and medical marijuana, but not recreational or high THC products.

In Canada and the US, tax revenue of cannabis products have been very lucrative, just like alcohol. Pakistan’s economy is in a bit of turmoil and economists have warned the country needs deep reforms to reduce its dependence on overseas financial assistance. Their $350 billion economy has been plagued with high inflation (up to 38% at one point.). The hope it they can generate more internal revenue and cannabis is one area.  

Recently, Pakistan approved the passage of an ordinance that created the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority (CCRA). This government body is tasked to regulate the cultivation, extraction, refining, manufacturing, and sale of cannabis derivatives for medical and industrial purposes.

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UN laws says if country wants to produce, process and conduct sales of cannabis-related products, it must have a federal entity to deal with supply chain and ensure international compliance.  The regulatory framework of the CCRA is the organization.

The CCRA specifies the maximum level of THC in the cannabis derivative to be 0.3 percent to avoid the abuse of medicinal products and use them recreationally.  With this move, the government plans to crack down on illicit grows in order to bring them into a licensed tax paying business.

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