Turkey has decided to make cannabis growth and production a key component of its economic plan, The Jerusalem Post reports citing a recent story by the Spanish-language daily El País.
The cultivation of cannabis in Turkey had practically deteriorated in recent decades due to anti-narcotics regulations. But now, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he intends to restart and even stimulate its production for industrial use.
Erdogan made the announcement in a speech on January 9.
According to the El Pais report, the plan for developing the cannabis industry includes authorizing its cultivation through pilot programs in 20 provinces.
“We will expand commercial licenses according to the demand we see,” said Turkish economist Bekir Pakdemirli.
He noted that there is a joint research project between the Black Sea Agricultural Research Institute and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, which, once concluded, will be shared with the cannabis producers and anyone else involved in the sector.
The president blamed “Western imperialists” for diminishing what was once a lucrative Turkish cannabis market.
In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Marijuana Tax Act, which prohibited the substance beginning in October of that year. It effectively banned the possession of pot by requiring users to obtain a tax stamp, which they couldn’t buy without providing details about the amount and location of their marijuana, thereby incriminating themselves in the process.
While the law was overturned by the Supreme Court and was officially repealed by Congress in 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act simultaneously — thus ensuring that marijuana remain illegal. Since then, Washington insisted that the rest of the countries follow its example.