Turkey has legalised cannabis production in 19 provinces in order to crack down on illegal production, according to new regulations by The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.
Published in the Official Gazette in late September, “Hemp Cultivation and Control of Regulations” will allow highly-controlled and ministry-sanctioned cannabis production in the selected provinces for medical and scientific purposes.
Under the regulations, growers must obtain permission from the government allowing them to grow the plant for a three-year-period, Turkish newspaper The Hurriyet reports.
Potential growers must produce a warrant proving they have not been involved in any illegal cannabis production activity or narcotic production or use in the past.
Ministry officials will also check cannabis fields each month before the start of the harvest season, and monitor them for any signs of illegal activity, T24 News reports.
The regulations stipulate that authorised growers must dispose of all parts of the cannabis plant after the harvest period to prevent any being sold on as a psychoactive drug.
The selected provinces include: Amasya, Antalya, Bartın, Burdur, Çorum, İzmir, Karabük, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kütahya, Malatya, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Tokat, Uşak, Yozgat and Zonguldak.
In outstanding cases, the ministry may also grant permission to grow cannabis in other provinces if production is purely for “scientific purposes”.
Consuming cannabis recreationally is illegal in Turkey. Possessing, purchasing or receiving any illegal drug, including cannabis, is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Sale and supply of illegal drugs is punishable by prison terms of up to 10 years and unlicensed production or trafficking by a minimum term of 10 years.