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Russia to Return its Leadership in Cannabis Cultivation
30.09.2011 11:35
Russia to Return its Leadership in Cannabis Cultivation
The Soviet badge "Honouring the Master of Cannabis Cultivation"

Drug and agriculture officials have called for the revival of mass non-narcotic cannabis cultivation in Russia. The State Russia's Federal Service for Narcotics Control has already supported that initiative.

      Cannabis was one of the country’s most important agricultural products for five centuries. Russia exported 80% of global cannabis production to all major European naval nations in the age of sail, when the water-resistant rope made of cannabis fibers was a strategic commodity on a par with iron and gunpowder. Cannabis is also a source of seed oil, livestock foodstuff, pulp for paper production and dozens of other products.

      But after the Soviet Union joined the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961, the cultivation of all spots of cannabis was strictly prohibited. Today, Russia has 2,000 hectares of industrial cannabis, as against 30,000 ha in China.

      In Soviet times the country cultivated so-called Cánnabis satíva - an annual herbaceous plant in the Cannabace family, which had a wide application in industry, but could be used for narcotics release. Today Russia plans to breed a special non-narcotic cannabis, which will retain all its usefull qualities, but will be useless for marijuana production.

      Russian scientists have already developed 20 hemp strains, which contain "almost no" traces of marijuana's key narcotic chemical -- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And the search is just in its beginning.

      "This is definitely a good idea ... its time has come, with genetic modification it is now possible to create non-narcotic hemp", Gennady Onishchenko, the chief of consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor, said. 

        However, some experts express their scepsis about that idea, saying that low-THC cannabis plants breed naturally with high-THC plants, which would make it difficult to keep plants in an industrial hemp plantation THC-free over several growing seasons.

      It should be pointed out that Russia still has many problems with an illegal marijuana cultivation. About 1 million hectares of illegal cannabis are thought to be under cultivation in Russia, most of it in the Far East and Black Sea regions. 


      

Sources: RIA Novosti Newsru KP Hispanic Business


Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian agriculture Gennady Onishchenko    

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