A fascinating piece in the South China Morning Post last week reports that a number of Chinese provinces have legalized the production of cannabis, and more particularly hemp, to make fabric, pharmaceuticals and food and drinks. Hemp production in China apparently dates back over 3,000 years and seems to have been the source of the first paper produced there.
According to the article, China now controls over half of the farmland worldwide being used to harvest hemp. China also holds more than half of the over 600 worldwide patents relating to cannabis because of research begun in the 1970s to develop better, more breathable military uniforms during the Vietnam War. The People’s Republic still imposes severe penalties for production of THC-laden cannabis, although it also has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine.
While exact information is not easily obtainable, one apparently can obtain a license to produce hemp in Heilongjiang and Yunnan provinces. The major cannabis growers elsewhere mostly are met with a blind eye by the Government. Farmers love it because hemp is much more profitable than other crops. One company apparently also is working with the Chinese military to develop a cannabis-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As the global reach of the cannabis movement grows, we should all keep a very close eye on these very important developments in China.