History of CBD and Cannabis: Pakistan
With a huge degree of ethnic and ecological diversity, Pakistan truly has it all: vast mountains, beaches, deserts, and forests. Bordered by India to the east and Afghanistan to the West, the country shares an intertwined cannabis history with the Indian subcontinent.
The country features a booming agricultural service with a middling industrialized economy, which makes the cannabis cultivation industry much more appealing to family growers and sellers.
As one of the world’s largest producers of hashish, Pakistan officials have held a contentious attitude toward all forms of cannabis crime for the past few decades.
Cannabis, CBD, and Pakistan
Currently, cannabis is illegal for all purposes in Pakistan. However, cannabis is distinguished from more serious substances, such as opium, heroin, and cocaine.
Additionally, rural areas of the country rarely see substantive enforcement of national drug policy. In particular, Northwestern tribal areas often see cannabis sold publicly in open markets without fear of legal repercussions.
In other parts of the country, punishments for trafficking are extremely severe. It’s not unheard of for those involved in transshipment rings to receive the death penalty.
Drug Trafficking Has Harsh Penalties
Officials are extremely harsh on trafficking since it highlights just how porous the country’s borders are. Due to Pakistan’s shared border with Afghanistan, vast swathes of rural residents are able to participate in moving drugs to the center of Pakistan markets.
Additionally, cannabis often works it way up towards the rest of the Middle East and portions of Europe. Whether it’s the southern coastline, porous land borders, or hard-to-reach mountainous cultivation sites, Pakistan sees vast quantities of marijuana reach maturity every year.
In part, Pakistan has been motivated to restrict its laws due to the pressure of international regulation and conservative Muslim influence. Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition and also one of the original religious groups to consume cannabis for religious purposes, was one the factors that converted Pakistan’s Hindu population to Islam in the Early Medieval Period. Sufis are also one of the original religious groups to consume cannabis for ritualistic purposes.
In part due to its relation to Sufism, cannabis came to be associated with apostasy, laziness, and violence. Conservative Muslim populations incited violence against the Sufis. Cannabis was seen as purely an intoxicant and Imams preached that Sufism didn’t properly reflect the Prophet.
Additionally, the United States implemented the War on Drugs in the seventies and eighties. This resulted in successive, worldwide restrictions on all forms of cannabis crime. Since then, cannabis laws have only become more strict in Pakistan.
Some experts have suggested that Pakistan should try to legalize the hemp industry. Hemp, a hardy strain of cannabis that grows well in most climates, could help to revitalize the flagging agricultural economy. However, there’s been no word yet on whether or not Pakistan officials will codify the hemp economy.