Industrial Hemp a perfect fit for economic diversification – AG

The PPP/C Government is following up on its manifesto commitment to advance the diversification of the agriculture sector, Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, said the Industrial Hemp bill, which was passed on Monday, “fits squarely” into the plan to create a lively economy.

The Minister, who is also the Attorney General, said that the financial returns received in the international hemp industry prove that Guyana is on the right track.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, MP

“We promised that we will increase our agro-sector so as not to place undue reliance on our oil and gas sector and we promised to pursue economic undertakings and endeavours that would be environmentally friendly and would fit into the four corners of our Low Carbon Development Strategy…Hemp as an agricultural undertaking fit squarely into the economic and/or environmental matrix,” Minister Nandlall posited.

He pointed out that international organisations or corporations are eager to get on board and invest in Guyana’s potential to be a premier producer of Industrial Hemp.

“There are a large number of companies in the agro-sector, in the private sector locally, as well as large conglomerates in North America who are anxiously awaiting the enactment of this bill as they are ready to move swiftly into hemp production,” he highlighted.

The Attorney General affirmed that even without the relevant expertise or experience in the particular field, the government was able to craft a bill that is “one of a kind” in the region.

“We came up with a bill that has no comparison in the region. There is one in Belize but it fails in significance when compared with this…I am particularly proud that we were able to produce a bill of this quality and of this pedigree,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd lauded the bill for being thorough and for opening up an avenue for Guyana to continue experiencing its “economic boom”.

“I believe that we are rightly positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented…we will see much-needed economic gains from this new sector,” Minister Todd said.

Further, the minister noted that it is important for Guyana to take an example from the major producing countries like France, United States, and Canada, in regularising this industry.

With direct by-products such as eco-friendly building materials, clothing and textiles, and high-quality paper, the minister said the passage of this bill can set Guyana on the path to massive economic benefits.

“It puts us in a sector where the demand for finished products that are high valued products would give Guyana the opportunity to be in a marketplace where we have the advantage and where we can compete,” he opined.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond, reiterated that the regularisation of Industrial Hemp is in no way the decriminalisation and/or legalisation of Marijuana.

Minister Walrond said that this is why it is important for “a robust framework” to be implemented so as to ensure that the difference is clear.

“This framework is established in order to prevent the cultivation and dealing of marijuana under the guise of dealing in industrial hemp products,” she highlighted.

Hemp grown for the production of biomass fuels can provide all of our gas, oil and coal energy needs, and end dependency on fossil fuels.

This can be a long-term goal for Guyana.

U.S.D.A. bulletin number 404 outlined a process for the production of paper using pulp and demonstrated that hemp could replace 40 to 70 per cent of all tree pulp paper, including corrugated boxes, computer paper, and paper bags.

An acre of hemp will produce as much pulp for paper as 4.1 acres of trees over a 20-year period.