The Government has tabled the Industrial Hemp Bill, which was read for the first time this morning by Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha.
Once passed, the legislation will provide for the cultivation and manufacturing of industrial hemp and hemp-related products in Guyana.
However, the Government maintains that the cultivation of hemp will be done in an orderly and structured way.
In keeping with that position, the proposed legislation explains that a person shall not cultivate or manufacture industrial hemp and hemp-related products or conduct research on industrial hemp or any other activity concerning or related to industrial hemp without a license issued by the Authority under the Act.
That Authority will be the Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority, with its establishment also being proposed under the Bill.
It will be administered by a governing 7-member board that will oversee its work.
“A person who intends to cultivate or manufacture industrial hemp or hemp related industrial hemp and hemp-related products or conduct research on industrial hemp or any other activity concerning or related to industrial hemp, shall apply to the Authority for a license in a prescribed manner and form,” the Bill proposes.
Additionally, a license will also have to be issued for any research to be done on the cultivation of industrial hemp or the manufacturing of related products.
The Bill is also proposing a hefty fine and jail time of one year for persons who contravene that provision.
Last month Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the government has earmarked Regions 6 and 10 for the cultivation of industrial hemp.
Since then, citizens from other Regions have shown interest in the Agricultural venture and have even protested for the government to extend the initiative to other Regions.
But the government, in the proposed legislation has said the process will not be a willy-nilly one, noting that “a person licensed to cultivate industrial hemp shall not plant any seed or plant or harvest any cannabis plant before a sample of the seed or plant is analyzed by an analyst to ascertain whether it confirms with the THC concentration allowed under this Act,” the proposal stated.
A license to cultivate industrial hemp will approve all activities related to the cultivation of industrial hemp including the possession, planting, propagating, harvesting, transporting, distributing, and selling of industrial hemp and seed.
Hemp is a botanical class of Cannabis sativa which is grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use.