Hemp uses less water than cotton, a fact that should excite farmers in the rapidly desiccating region.
Central Asia has a great climate for growing marijuana. The cannabis plant, which is indigenous to the region, blankets hillsides and reveals itself stubbornly in urban parks. Archeological evidence suggests cannabis was used in Central Asia 6,000 or more years ago and spread along early trade routes with Europe and East Asia.
Now Uzbekistan, which promotes itself as the tourist-friendly heart of the Silk Road, is experimenting with the plant anew.
This is not good-time ganja, however. A French-Uzbek joint venture will begin growing industrial hemp, which contains low amounts of mind-altering tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in Khorezm region, Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry said this month. The plant’s fibers have a variety of uses: in paper, ropes, building supplies and textiles. In many ways, hemp is a lot like Uzbekistan’s infamous cash crop – cotton. But hemp uses less water, the Foreign Ministry pointed out, a fact that should excite farmers in the rapidly desiccating region.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a law in March allowing for the commercial cultivation of hemp containing up to 0.2 percent THC “for industrial purposes not related to the production or manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,” which remain illegal. [Read more @ Eurasianet]