China is not happy about Canada fully legalizing cannabis this year. In fact, according to a Forbes report, the Chinese government is blaming Canada for the tons of illegal marijuana imports they need to deal with.
With roughly 20 percent of Canada’s total cannabis output in 2017 being illegally sold beyond its borders, and with a good portion of this being shipped to China, it looks like Chinese government officials really have reason to be concerned.
However, China’s displeasure with Canada over its cannabis problem seems to be ironic considering that the Asian nation itself produces about half of the world’s total cannabis supply. Forbes even describes China’s reaction as somewhat “hypocritical.”
The cannabis plants from China are mostly of the hemp variety, which is more fiber-rich and is non-psychotropic or non-high-inducing. These plants are mostly processed to become fabrics, ropes, and medicine.
Forbes also cited a Psychology Today report that traced the economic uses of cannabis hemp in China to 10,000 B.C.
As of last year, Chinese companies hold 309 of the 606 cannabis-related patents filed around the world. So while marijuana stays illegal in China, its great economic potential does pose a threat to the country’s cannabis interests around the world.
A report from New Zealand Herald said that there are no official figures as to how much cannabis China plants and harvests each year, but its plantations are flourishing. And this cannabis is for both commercial and illegal drug use.
The growth in cannabis production is made possible by scientists and government-funded studies on the use of the plant for military purposes.
With this strategic approach, China is holding over 600 patents on marijuana applications. And pharmaceutical manufacturers and researchers in Western countries are scared. Why? Because cannabis treatment is becoming accepted in Western medicine, Canadian biochemist and investor Dr. Luc Duschesne believes that the predominance of Chinese patents means that pharmeceutical sciences in China are quickly evolving and could outpace the capabilities of the west.
The Forbes report pointed out that if cannabis remains to be a Schedule I drug in terms of federal classification in the U.S., the research needed to catch up and lead in the field of cannabi-based pharmaceuticals is stifled. Research are finding it difficult to get funding for further studies and for all the necessary testings. And what’s worse is that this is not expected to change anytime soon.
In effect, if China does supply half of the cash crop in the world, its influence would only grow exponentially as U.S. states and individual countries legalize the use of hemp and marijuana. Needless to say, the Chinese have already mastered the art and science of commercializing hemp more than the Americans have.
Moreover, Chinese producers and investors who specialize in hemp cultivation are believed to be transferring their expertise to the U.S. market.
Cannabis in China
China still prohibits the cultivation, sale, transport, and possession of cannabis.
As recently as 2015, authorities were raiding homes, clubs, and businesses, and are arresting individuals for cannabis possession. At the time, residents in Beijing had to purchase cannabis from foreign dealers who are importing the weed from whatever country they’re from.