ISLAMABAD    -   Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudary has said that sites for production of Medicinal and Industrial Cannabis will be finalized within a period of 15 to 30 days.

While talking with The Nation here yesterday, the minister explained about the initiative of hemp production for medical purposes in Pakistan. 

About the subject, the official stated that three of the production sites were proposed by International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) seeking permission for cultivation of industrial hemp and were discussed in the cabinet meeting.

A copy of the summary of the cabinet meeting available with The Nation reveals the sites proposed by ICCBS. 

Three locations were discussed in the cabinet, though, not approved. These locations include ICCBS Medical Plant Campus, Moza Lokot, Murree Expressway (18 KANAL), 2) District Haripur in the proximity of Haripur University (10 acres), 3) ICCBS Agricultural Farm, Mirpur Sakro, Thatta District, Sindh (4 acres).

The summary further says that Prime Minister issued directives regarding domestication and commercialization of Cannabis/Hemp. Detailed deliberations were held at the ministry of narcotics control which included relevant stakeholders from Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food and Security & Research, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination. Later on, Ministry of science and Technology sought permission for cultivation of industrial hemp and a summary was moved for grant of permission by the Prime Minister Office, states the summary of the cabinet.  

As the Ministry of Science and Technology showed keenness in the cabinet meeting about the production of hemp in Pakistan, many conjectured in the opposition as well as in the general public that the plant was less of a hemp and looked more like weed plant (drug plant). 

To this point, the minister explained that the production of hemp is different from the drug plant and the plant is itself different in both appearance and usage. He elaborated that the production of hemp was done all around the world for medical purposes and it remained a total success.

When questioned if it could be used wrongly as like for drugs, the minister disclosed that its regulation and usage will be strictly monitored by the Ministry of Narcotics Control while its production and cultivation will be done by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Now, as the cabinet has recently decided to proceed with the initiative of producing and cultivating hemp, it’s just a matter of days to finalize the sites for these operations.