Uzbekistan returns to its roots with cannabis cultivation

Hemp uses less water than cotton, a fact that should excite farmers in the rapidly desiccating region
Eurasianet (US)
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

kazakhstan cannabis field2Central Asia has a great climate for growing cannabis. The 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. In neighboring Kazakhstan, an outfit called KazHemp has been harvesting the plant since 2017.