It is estimated that China owns half of the patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization
The largest hemp farm in the world. Indeed, China has granted a license for the creation of a new 100 square kilometer hemp farm in Yunnan province. The country is determined to lead the demand for hemp and CBD due to the growing demand of countries that are decriminalizing the industrial and medicinal use of the cannabis plant.
Conba Group is a publicly traded pharmaceutical company that will grow three separate plantations in the southwest of Yunnan province. Last month it reached an agreement with CannaAcubed Pte for the planting, extraction, processing and packaging of industrial hemp.
The license allows this company to grow hemp for industrial and medical uses. ConbaGroup said during a project presentation that it had already signed seed supply contracts with domestic and foreign suppliers. In China the cultivation of cannabis is allowed only for medicinal, industrial and textile purposes. Only industrial hemp is grown, with a high fiber content and a low amount of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) psychoactive compound.
China is in an optimal position compared to any other country to supply the growing demand for cannabis for medicinal use and perhaps one day, also for cannabis for recreational use. In 2017, China already owned 309 of the 606 patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The southwest of Yunnan province has optimal environmental cultivation conditions and, in addition, it has been cultivating cannabis for at least 10,000 years before Christ for industrial, medicinal and food use. No other country has so many scientists and processing factories with experience in cannabis applications.
Any relationship with the cannabis plant without having a license in China is strictly prohibited. Of course, the country is aware of the enormous potential of marijuana for recreational purposes, but it is possible that Beijing does not want to risk allowing the cultivation of varieties with a higher THC content for fear of encouraging local consumption. Currently, Chinese criminal laws state that “people who cultivate, traffic or transport narcotics are sentenced to 15 years in prison, life imprisonment or even death penalty, in addition to the confiscation of their property.”
However, marijuana for recreational use is becoming the most widely used illegal substance among the Chinese, especially residents of Hong Kong. The use or sale of cannabis is prohibited in Hong Kong under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, which entered into force in 1969. If a police officer catches someone with a small substance that they suspect is cannabis, they can send the sample so that a chemist from the government analyze it before arresting the suspect individual. But if it involves large amounts of the substance, the suspect can be brought to court while analyzing a sample.
Police figures show that seizures of cannabis in the city have increased by 96.2 since 2015.
Another problem that China arises is that cannabis cultivation has traditionally been associated with the Uighur Muslim minority population that for decades have been subjugated by the central government to the point of having created an insurgency movement. Although crops are now being planted elsewhere, authorities know that Uyghurs know more than anyone else about plant cultivation.
In order to avoid problems with the Uyghur insurgency, China’s central government is making Jilin province in the north-east of the country the third province to promote industrial hemp cultivation after Yunnan in the southwest and Heilongjiang in the northeast.
Recently, the Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Dutch company Fytagoras B.V. signed the Industrial Hemp Cooperation Research Agreement. Both parties established the formal basis of a cooperative research and development relationship.
Last March 2018, the provincial government decided to legislate the Anti-Drug Regulation of the Province of Jilin and decided to address the issue of industrial hemp management as a single chapter, in order to regulate the definition of characteristics of the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp, according to the website of the Jilin Provincial Public Security Office.
Jilin Province will introduce specific provincial regulations on industrial hemp based on the experience of Yunnan Province and strengthen research on management regulations.
The license granted for a farm covering 100 square kilometers of hemp cultivation in Yunnan gives us an idea that China wants to put its economic interests first and become a multi-million dollar industry in the next decade.