Pakistan Creates Regulation Agency To Manage Medical Cannabis Program

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Recent moves in Pakistan to embrace medical cannabis could open many doors for the South Asian country. In February, an ordinance was passed by Pakistan president Arif Alvi which issued the creation of the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority (CCRA), “aimed at regulating the cultivation, extraction, refining, manufacturing, and sale of cannabis derivatives for medical and industrial purposes.” The CCRA will be made up of 13 board members which includes representatives from other government departments and intelligence agencies, according to Pakistan Today.

Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) chairman, Syed Hussain Abidi, shared that the creation of the CCRA is mandated by United Nations laws. “The UN laws say that if a country wants to produce, process and conduct sales of cannabis-related products, it must have a federal entity that will deal with supply chain and ensure international compliance,” Abidi told Al Jazeera. The PCSIR prepared the National Cannabis Policy in 2023, which the news outlet explained was the foundation for the ordinance.

Originally, the creation of an agency similar to the CCRA was proposed in 2020 under former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The most recent ordinance establishes a range of fees for violations, between 10 million to 200 million Pakistan rupees (or approximately $35,000 USD to $718,000 USD). It also enlists the help of the Pakistan Anti-Narcotics Force to monitor illegal activity.

Cannabis cultivation has been illegal in Pakistan, but some of the country’s regions have had a long history of cultivation, which until now has been largely ignored by the government. The new ordinance will change that approach, as it requires a license to be approved to an applicant who is interested in cultivating. “Technically, now the cultivation is legal since the ordinance has been passed, but we are still in [the] process of developing rules and procedures and awaiting registration of …

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Author: Nicole Potter / High Times

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