History of CBD and Cannabis: Bangladesh
Believe it or not, Bangladesh has a long and lurid history of cannabis use and production. The South Asian country, which shares borders with Myanmar and India, is a small powerhouse for much of Asia’s cannabis consumption even to this day.
Cannabis, CBD, and Bangladesh
Since the eighties, the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis has been completely illegal in Bangladesh. During this time period, pressure from the US government and Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs Campaign caused worldwide restrictions on nonviolent drug offenses. Bangladesh was no exception.
After working with US government officials, the Bangladesh government enforced bans on cannabis operations in 1987 that was followed by banning sales in 1989. The law took its final form in the codified Narcotics Control Act of 1990, which gave judicial courts the ability to use death penalties in any drug related crime.
Before the ban, cannabis and other substances, like opium, were a major part of many Bangladeshi residents lifestyles. Even today, cannabis grows in both wild and domesticated crops along the districts of Naogaon, Jamalpur, and Netrokona in the Northern regions.
In the years following the ban, the rates of local drug consumption and sale haven’t slowed a bit. Independent researchers have reported that enforcement attitudes are incredibly relaxed and cannabis continues to be popular among medics, youth, and middle aged consumers.
Part of the reason that cannabis is so popular is because cultivation is extremely easy. The climate is hot and humid year round, which allows for fibrous cannabis plants chock full of THC to grow in many parts of the country. Additionally, many parts of Bangladesh are hard to patrol, which cuts off law enforcement’s ability to stamp out illicit drug trade operations.
Bangladesh’s relationship to cannabis dates all the way back to the growth of European exploration and trade in the fifteenth century. At the time, the country’s rich access to resources and fast-growing cannabis allowed for the export of “Indian hemp” all over the world.
Aside from recreational uses, cannabis was extremely fibrous and strong, which means it lasts much longer than most natural fibers. Up until the beginning of the twentieth century, hemp was used as the primary source for paper production globally. Hemp also became vital in war conflict as well, since it could be used to make a variety of cheap yet effective fuels.
Now, many strains can be traced back to their roots in Bangladesh and Southeast Asia. However, colonial era policy ended up restricting cannabis trade as European countries grew more entrenched in Asian countries.
As the Western world slowly softens its stance on marijuana, it will be interesting to see if the country ever regains its status as one of the peak producers of cannabis. Though it’s unlikely international cannabis trade will reach full legality anytime soon, countries like Bangladesh are already slowing down traditional enforcement patterns.