Legalization of Hemp Production can Super Boost Pakistan’s Economy. Wait! This is not a sweeping statement and I will try to prove it.
Plants have much power over human health. Plants have changed many lives and solved many complex medical issues for many people. This plant is serving mother earth for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the plant for many years has suffered from a bad reputation. But centuries ago it was valued by civilizations because of its usefulness.
Chinese people have used this plant so effectively to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and even paper. It is the plant that Germans and Italians ate in soups and pies.
Now, do you know one fact, that this plant grows in absolute natural abundance in Pakistan? This precious plant is called hemp (Bhang). If this plant is used intelligently and wisely, it can change Pakistan’s future. I will try to tell you how this can work and why Pakistani people with the support of the Pakistani government should open the minds to get the advantage of this gift of nature which grows in such abundance in Pakistan. The legalization of hemp production can super boost Pakistan’s economy.
What is Hemp (Bhang)?
The origins of hemp and cannabis are very clearly interlinked as they both form part of the same plant family cannabis Stevia. This special plant is believed to have originated in Central and South Asia at around 10000 BC. Cannabis had been growing naturally in the wild for thousands of years before humanity begins to progressively sit and find out its amazing properties. Hemp is an environmentally friendly low-cost cash crop that grows widely in most parts of Pakistan.
Hemp or industrial hemp is the strain of cannabis stevia plant species. Countries grow this plant specifically for industrial uses to derive products. In only a few years it has become the world’s fastest-growing plants which can be refined into a variety of commercial items.
Hemp can be a basic ingredient for papers, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulations, biofuel, food, and animal feed. These days the word industrial hemp should distinguish itself from marijuana.
Hemp Vs Marijuana:
Now, what is the difference between the use of cannabis as drug marijuana and the use of refined hemp in a variety of commercial items? Hemp and marijuana, both are cannabis plants. Hemp however virtually contains no THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high and becomes addictive. Moreover, It has a lower concentration of THC and a higher concentration of something called cannabidiol or CBD which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.
Despite its natural presence in Pakistan, unfortunately, over the years hemp has castigated to the role of an illicit substance. Previously to grow legal hemp, agriculturists must petition for licenses through the Narcotics Control Board. In simple words, in Pakistan, it was illegal to grow.
History of Hemp:
Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. A 10 thousand old archeological site in the islands near Japan contains cannabis seeds. Archeologists believed signified the use of plant even then.
Use of Hemp?
You may be wandering but why hemp is such a precious plant and what can be made of it? Hemp is a superfood. People use hemp seeds to increase the nutritional value of plant-based dishes. Its protein content is high in globulins that enhance the immune system. Hemp also contains healthy oils, particularly miraculous plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids which can produce butter, oil, and even milk. Hemp products are good for many people in the world who are increasingly becoming lactose intolerant. In foreign countries, hemp products are available in various health stores in the form of medicines, seeds, and oils.
Hemp is an anti pollutant and is so resilient that it is being used to clean toxins from groundwater and soil. At the site of a nuclear accident in Ukraine, fields of hemp were planted because it can harmlessly absorb the dangerous toxins and metals from the surroundings.
It was the original paper in ancient times. Hemp can save forests, if we use hemp to make paper. According to the US Department of Agriculture, one acre of hemp could produce four times more paper than one acre of trees. To harvest trees it can take a lifetime but in four months hemp will be ready to harvest.
It is also a good source of biodiesel. It has high efficiency of conversion, meaning that at least 97% of hemp oil can be converted into biofuel. Moreover, it can grow in poor soil, so it does not compete with other food crops for valuable farmlands.
Hemp is a good alternative to plastic. It was used back in the 1940s for this purpose. These days more and more manufacturers are embracing hemp composites to make various products. They are equally tough as plastics and safer for the environment.
Furthermore, hemp is a durable textile fiber. Even before cotton entered a whole new era for the textile industry hemp was always the fiber of choice. It takes die easily and can retain color well. It resists mold and is very durable. Textile made of hemp gets softer with washing. It is cheaper than cotton in the cost of production.
Also Read: A Modified Strain of Cannabis can Kill Cancerous Cells: Scientists
What Pakistan Can Do?
The world’s leading hemp producer is China which produces more than 70% of total output. Second to China is France with a production of almost 25%. The remaining smaller productions occur in Europe, Chile, and North Korea. Worldwide, over thirty countries produce industrial hemp.
Pakistan is the country where this plant is a natural grower. One does not have to create special conditions for its growth. Pakistan can grow the very top quality crop is this wonder plant and can serve so much demand around the world. This includes demands for CBD oil, organic high-quality hemp food, seeds, milk, sweets, and so much more.
Government Policy on Hemp Production 2020?
On Tuesday, Sep 1st, 2020, Cabinet approved the legalization of hemp production in Pakistan. This decision can help Pakistan to get up to $1 billion from the international market.
People who are unaware of this amazing plant are criticizing and mocking the government on this approval. Others are appreciating because of the huge potential we have in Pakistan in this regard.
Now as you know the real use of hemp, you have to take part in producing hemp products. We have to innovate ourselves to bring more ideas to get the maximum out of it. It is a new industry here with a lot of opportunities. It has enough room for startups. This could not only benefit the whole of Pakistan but potentially exports to the world markets. There are huge international demands waiting to be served.
How Cannabis Can Benefit the Economy of Pakistan?
The legalization of hemp production could change the landscape of Pakistan’s agriculture and help hardworking farmers immensely. The plant of hemp requires less chemical spraying than cotton, soy, corn, and wheat. It can help Pakistan to produce biofuel to meets its industrial and electricity demands. Pakistan currently imports cotton to create a textile. It can help to reduce the use of cotton for textile manufacturing. Hemp can help to serve the health of Pakistani citizens providing a healthy natural source of protein in the form of hemp seeds.
Hemp provides a huge opportunity, Pakistani manufacturers, in creating lucrative products to export to booming European and world CBD markets.
What Should Pakistan do Next?
I hope Pakistan is now open for hemp production for people having good intentions for the betterment of the country and its people. The government should do this in a way that it should not add to the misery of drug addicts. To do this safely the government should take an example of all of the countries that have opened their economies to this trade. Additionally, learn from the mistakes of these countries and implement better laws. China, being a very good friend to Pakistan can help us in this regard. Pakistan’s government should impose strong controls on processes and procedures and ensure proper punishment for violators.
The government should also engage the media on this initiative. Moreover, they should also run awareness campaigns so that people start thinking of using it constructively.
What Media Should Do?
Instead of mocking, the media should help the government in spreading awareness of the positive use of hemp. Recently, many programs in electronic and social media have triggered campaigns against the legalization of hemp production. The media should now show responsibility by playing its positive role in this development.
Finally, we need to change the perceptions of hemp. Hope so this article has change yours. Share it to create more awareness.