The Alternative for the Closure of the Guyana’s Sugar Estate is HEMP

The United Republican Party (URP) has carefully looked at the situation which is now engaging the cabinet and the member of the Hemp Association. We are literally at the cross roads on this matter. Hemp – from all credible research – is a plant of the cannabis family. It is true that marijuana is also a plant of the cannabis family. The quandary this and any administration will have in allowing for the local production of Hemp, is not the issue of the Hemp production but rater, the monitoring of the cannabis plantations.
Hemp does not have the innate levels of Terahydrocannabinol (THC) (0.3% or higher), that marijuana has. The hallucinating ‘high’ which comes from marijuana cannot be achieved unless one smokes a substantial amount of Hemp. A crass comparison might be to equate Hemp to Banks Shandy and Marijuana to Banks Vodka. Can one get high from drinking Shandy? Sure. But it will take several shandies to get the high that one shot of Vodka would immediately produce.
The immediate concern for the government is therefore to determine if the benefits of producing Hemp, outweighs the negative effects of decriminalizing a known hallucinogen. And that determination cannot and should not be taken lightly. However, it should be noted that at some point and by some Guyanese government, Hemp production will become permissible. Therefore, what is need at this time is a candid discussion on the way forward. It must be noted that most, if not all, of the developed countries have already allowed for the production of Hemp.
Hemp is now a multimillion dollar addition to GDP of the countries in which it is planted, including China, Canada, and the European Union. Additionally, the byproducts of the Hemp plant are grossing in the billions of dollars. There are Hemp; ropes, creams, pills, plastics, safety wear and devices, batteries, etc. Reports are that over 2,000 products are now being derived from Hemp. The introduction of the production of Hemp is seeing a huge increase in the employment of those otherwise unemployed, in the areas where it is planted and where byproducts are produced. Hemp cultivation can be a viable solution in the diversification of the sugar industry and a utilization of those lands.
To help reduces the complication of legalizing Hemp, the members of the Hemp Association are purporting that a body be formed and gazetted to be responsible for the monitoring and coordinating of the Hemp industry. Some of the challenges that the association and the government will have is the monitoring of the plantations. Constant vigilance would have to be taken to make sure that the laws regulating the Hemp production is followed. There will also have to be immediate efforts employed to facilitate the construction of factories that will see the local value added benefits of Hemp.
Editor, all of the members of the local Hemp Association and many of those backing its legalization are career entrepreneurs and business people. We have a duty to our country to suggest ways in which our stagnant, high, unemployment rate can be lowered. We also have a duty to seek to increase the salary scale of those who are already working. The legalizing of Hemp production fits well into the Administration’s vision of creating the good life for all Guyanese.
Finally, the URP thinks that the production of Hemp should not be made into a political football. The allowing for the production of Hemp should not be couched into political correctness. The administration needs to have those with the expertise within their fold take a candid look at the benefits of the production of Hemp and the decision to allow its production should not be made based on the political benefit or hindrance.