First draft of Hemp Bill completed, under consideration – AG
With the aim of establishing a viable industry here, the Guyana Government has completed the first draft of the Hemp Bill and is now reviewing it.
This is according to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC, during last week’s edition of his programme – Issues In The News.
According to him, there is a lot of interests being demonstrated, both in and out of Guyana, on the establishment of the relevant legislation to lay the foundation for a viable hemp industry here.
“The Hemp Bill is in first draft and is being considered by the Government, and the Government will determine what the next steps are,” he noted.
The Attorney General explained that the draft Bill is an expansive one that looks at what is being done is other territories around the world. However, he noted that there is not much to take from the Caribbean region since Antigua and Barbuda is the nation with a draft Bill while the others permit cultivation of hemp through minor amendments to relevant drugs or narcotics law.
“We are going in a far more advanced and sophisticated stage. We are creating an entire Bill that will have an entire governance structure and will also prescribe the relevant technical levels that will determine legality for hemp and will also regulate the way hemp will be cultivated, the areas that hemp will be cultivated at and how one would qualify to cultivate,” Nandlall pointed out.
He added, “It’s a work in progress but it will be one of the most advanced pieces of legislation of its type and should be in Parliament very shortly.”
President Dr Irfaan Ali has repeatedly talked about the benefits that a lucrative hemp industry can bring for Guyana.
In fact, during his address to the Police Officers’ Conference last month, the Head of State said that the country can develop a viable hemp industry by exploiting and capitalising on the value-added aspects of the plant.
“The hemp industry is not only about hemp production, but it is about having the processing and value-added facilities here in Guyana and these are industries that can generate jobs, these are industries that have high value return,” he noted.
President Ali had previously disclosed, at a press briefing last month, his intention to meet marijuana farmers on the possibility of them taking advantage of the hemp industry. He said it is a legal way for them to make money.
“It is a net gain for the country, and I want to have that conversation and I think that it is the responsibility of the President to lead in some of these areas in creating the level of trust for the transformation that is required. So, yes this is an industry that can also help in at-risk communities,” the President told reporters.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) had reported that according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Centre, industrial hemp is from the plant species Cannabis sativa and has been used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Hemp is a source of fibre and the oilseed is grown in more than 30 nations.
Some uses for hemp include rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. It is rich in protein, unsaturated fats, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Hemp protects the brain, boosts heart health, reduces inflammation, improves skin conditions and relieves rheumatoid arthritis.
Hemp seeds are particularly rich in healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are known for improving heart health by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
Additionally, the results of the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey in its National Hemp Report which shows data of hemp grown in the open and under protection in the United States (US), stated that the value of US hemp production in the open totalled $712 million. The value of production for hemp that was grown under protection in the US totalled $112 million.
Further, the Global Industrial Hemp Markets Report 2021-2028, published by GlobeNewswire in November 2021, states that the global industrial hemp market size is expected to reach US$12.01 billion by 2028 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2 per cent from 2021 to 2028. (G8)