Following statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urging an increase in the land allotted for the planting of hemp, the total area of land in Turkey dedicated to hemp with the purpose of producing hemp seeds, fibers and oil has risen fivefold year-on-year, according to local news reports on Thursday.
While hemp was planted on 20 hectares last year, that number rose to 100 this year, after Erdoğan vowed to engage in efforts toward producing hemp anew. After his remarks, Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry increased efforts at dealing with the matter.
The amount of land allotted to hemp production has fluctuated over the past few decades. While there were 4200 hectares available in 1989, by 1999 that number had fallen to 536 hectares, before plummeting to just 66 hectares in 2009.
Erdoğan raised eyebrows at the beginning of this year when he vowed to increase hemp production, given the product – while containing significantly lower levels of THC than marijuana – is also a type of cannabis.
Hemp seeds are thought to possess a number of health benefits, while the hemp plant fibre is famed for its strength and is used in a variety of textile products.
Pro-gov’t journo suggests growing hemp on land seized from the YPG
Recently, columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak of the staunchly Islamist, pro-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) daily newspaper, known for his support of hemp and cannabis projects, has said that they could be grown on land recently seized from the People’s Support Units (YPG), the Kurdish rebel group that Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring was launched earlier this month.
“Cannabis users pose a much lower criminal risk to the public, any and all harm lies with themselves,” Dilipak had said, adding that cannabis induces psychological rather than physical dependency.