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National Bhang Policy to be ready by Dec: Shibli Faraz

He said work has started on a project to use hemp in industry and medicine. Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz informed a parliamentary panel that the industrial and medicine hemp (bhang) policy will be ready by December.

The minister was briefing the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which met under the chairmanship of Sajid Mehdi in Committee Room of Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, Islamabad.

Faraz and PCSIR Member Dr Naseem Rauf briefed the committee about the cultivation and production of industrial and medicinal hemp. They said that work has been started on a project to use hemp in industry and medicine. Hemp cultivation has been started in Rawat. The price of hemp seed is eight to 12 dollars. and cannabis seeds will also be produced near Rawat.

The global cannabis market will reach $95 billion by 2025. The project will be completed in three years and will cost Rs1896 million. The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) is on board and has approved four sites for cannabis cultivation.

He said this is a pilot project and letter has been written to the prime minister for cannabis policy. The policy will come in December and Commerce and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) are also on board.

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Earlier this month, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Syed Shibli Faraz said his ministry has started work on the National Hemp Policy which would be formulated in consultation with the Ministry of Commerce.

Shibli Faraz said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had always emphasised starting projects which could help move the country forward economically and create jobs opportunities. Cannabis cultivation is the result of this great vision, he said.

The minister said that the one-acre land could produce 10 litres of CBD oil which was also used in various medicines. He said cannabis cultivation would bring investment in the country. He said hemp seeds were very expensive and his ministry was also focusing on production and starting exporting cannabis products.

The Hemp Development Programme is a development project of the current government which was initiated on the directives of the prime minister. The PCSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology will execute the project in collaboration with the PMAS Arid Agriculture University.

In September, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry felicitated the Ministry of Science and Technology and PCSIR on the inauguration of the first hemp farm in Pakistan aimed to boost the production of industrial hemp to tap into the multi-billion dollar international cannabidiol (CBD) market.

The minister had said it was a matter of great happiness that this important project has moved forward. He said Pakistan is set to become a key part of billion of dollars worth of the hemp industry Last year in September, the federal cabinet had approved the issuance of the first licence for medical and industrial use of hemp plants.