The Guyana parliament on Monday approved the Industrial Hemp Bill, legalizing industrial hemp cultivation of plants containing 0.3% THC or less, Caribbean National Weekly reports. Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who is described as piloting the legislation, called hemp “a win-win situation for all the players involved.”
“For the grower, it will be a source of income generation and job creation. For the consumers, it would have significant benefits, and for the broader economy, it would be a valuable source of foreign exchange, especially in the context of economic diversification.” — Mustapha via CNW
Hemp production in the nation will first begin in two regions, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall told the National Assembly, describing the regions as “depressed” and saying that hemp would help them “stimulate employment and economic activities.” Nandlall added that hemp would also help the nation’s environment.
“It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere with one acre of hemp being able to absorb over 22 tons of carbon dioxide,” he said during his remarks. “When harvested, it replaces more polluting materials in the manufacturing industry and provides alternatives for sustaining the environment.”
The measure establishes a Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority and a governing board, which will include representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, and the Private Sector Commission, News Source Guyana reports. The bill makes it illegal for anyone to cultivate or manufacture industrial hemp, produce hemp-related products, or conduct research on industrial hemp without a license issued by the authority, the report says. Cultivation licenses would be valid for three years while manufacturing licenses would be valid for 15 years. Operating without a license could result in a $500,000 fine and imprisonment of up to one year.
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