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Cannabis valley in Kazakhstan to be destroyed with herbicides 09 октября 2014, 17:03

Kazakhstan is considering ways to address the problem of cannabis growing in the Chu Valley.
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Marijuana ©Vesti.kz Marijuana ©Vesti.kz

The “legendary” Chui Valley may be destroyed with herbicides, Tengrinews reports.

Legendary - because hardly anyone in Kazakhstan has not heard about it. Legendary in quotes – because the Valley is known primarily for cannabis that grow there.

Located in Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl Oblast and Kyrgyzstan’s Chui Province, about 140,000 hectares of the total area of the valley see intensive growth of cannabis.

It is not known precisely when cannabis started growing in the valley. Some claim that the seeds were brought here in the 17th century by Turkestan Governor-General Kolpakovsky with the good intentions to prevent sand encroachment, Lenta.ru writes.

Others believe cannabis has grown here since ancient times and the people found it useful in everyday life because of high durability of the material.

In any case, now the valley is a heaven for drug dealers. Up to 5 tons of marijuana a year can be produced from the cannabis growing here.

In January this year head of the Interior Ministry of Kazakhstan Kalmukhanbet Kasymov said that there was a need to address the problem.

He told the Mazhilis, Lower Chamber of the Parliament, that they were searching for a possibility to implement the project on localization and liquidation of wild hemp under the current target program of the Ministry of Agriculture. He added that previous attempts of the Ministry to organize industrial processing of hemp in Chui Valley did not bear fruit.

On her part, deputy Nazarbayeva suggested using hemp in Chui Valley for medical purposes. She noted that 25 thousand kinds of products are produced from industrial and medical cannabis worldwide. Cannabis is also used to treat patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, she said.

"How many years have our law enforcement agencies been fighting against cannabis growing in the Chui Valley, how much budget money has been spent on these efforts, is it at all effective, shall we ask? Today, maybe it is time to actually use this cannabis growing in the wild for good purposes, for medical purposes, with a view to develop the national economy?" she said.

To this Kasymov replied that his Ministry did not object to establishing commercial production of hemp. "Of course, covering all 140,000 hectares of it is impossible, cannabis grows across the country. Therefore, it is necessary to decide whether to destroy or to use it for the national economy," the Minister said.

The pendulum has now swung towards the first.

Kazakh Scientific Research Institute on Plant Protection and Quarantine proposed a project for eradication of cannabis in the Chui Valley with herbicides and planting forage crops instead.

The relevant draft was discussed at a sitting of the Interagency Staff coordinating the activities of state bodies aimed at combating drug abuse and drug trafficking, the Ministry of Internal Affairs informed on 26 September.

Commenting on the project, the head of the Interior Ministry Kasymov said that it would require separate funding, starting with the scientific and technical expertise of the project.

"What is needed is an objective assessment and reasonable conclusions by specialists," Kasymov said.

Who knows, maybe the pendulum will swing the other direction again?

By Dinara Urazova

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