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Pakistan Turns To Cannabis Industry Amid Economic Challenges

This move could provide a much-needed economic boost amid a 25% inflation rate and sluggish growth. The economic crisis since May 2022 is considered Pakistan's most severe.
09:40 AM May 09, 2024 IST | Aniket Raj
pakistan turns to cannabis industry amid economic challenges

The govt of Pakistan is surprising observers by legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, paving the way for the country to export cannabis and its derivatives as a means to address economic challenges.

In February, the Pakistani government enacted an ordinance establishing the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority (CCRA). The CCRA's mandate encompasses overseeing the cultivation, extraction, refining, manufacturing, and sale of cannabis derivatives for both medical and industrial uses.

Nikkei Asia notes that Pakistan aims to leverage its favorable growing conditions to tap into the global cannabis market. The country envisions utilizing cannabis as a means to boost revenue through exports, foreign investment, and domestic sales, thereby bolstering its foreign reserves. Syed Hussain Abidi, chairman of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), expressed this strategic outlook.

The Pakistani economy could indeed experience a significant boost from cannabis, providing a much-needed uplift.

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Pakistan is grappling with a high inflation rate of 25%, coupled with sluggish economic growth, which stands at 1.9%, marking one of its slowest paces of growth.

The economic crisis that Pakistan has been facing since May 2022 is being regarded as the most severe since the country's formation.

The Cannabis Regulatory Authority will comprise 13 members drawn from various government departments, intelligence agencies, and the private sector. The proposal for such an entity was initially put forth in 2020 during the tenure of Prime Minister Imran Khan, signaling Pakistan's ambition to integrate into the global cannabis and cannabis derivatives industry.

Individuals found misusing the regulations and purchasing cannabis for recreational purposes face hefty fines ranging from Pakistani Rs 1 million to Pakistani Rs 10 million. Companies engaging in such activities can be fined between Pakistani Rs 10 million to Pakistani Rs 200 million.

Licenses for cannabis cultivation will be issued for a duration of five years. The government will retain sole authority to determine the approved locations for legal cannabis cultivation.

Also Read: Police Makes Arrests In Killing Of Khalistan Separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar

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