Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
Consumer confidence index drops q/q, y/y in 4Q20
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Russia’s grain harvest may fall to 131mn tonnes in 2021 from 133mn tonnes in 2020
ING: Russia balance of payments: supportive of ruble in the near-term, but risks for 2H21 mount.
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Turnover rose on Bosnia's two stock exchanges in 2020 while prices fell
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
ISTANBUL BLOG: Biden must find a way to work with Trump’s strongman pal Erdogan
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Tehran Stock Exchange chief quits amid “Black Monday” fury
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
Central Asia has a great climate for growing marijuana. The cannabis plant, which is indigenous to the region, blankets hillsides and reveals itself stubbornly in urban parks. Archaeological evidence suggests cannabis was used in Central Asia 6,000 or more years ago and spread along early trade routes with Europe and East Asia.
Now Uzbekistan, which promotes itself as the tourist-friendly heart of the Silk Road, is experimenting with the plant anew.
This is not good-time ganja, however. A French-Uzbek joint venture will begin growing industrial hemp, which contains low amounts of mind-altering tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in Khorezm region, Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry said this month. The plant’s fibres have a variety of uses: in paper, ropes, building supplies and textiles. In many ways, hemp is a lot like Uzbekistan’s infamous cash crop – cotton. But hemp uses less water, the foreign ministry pointed out, a fact that should excite farmers in the rapidly desiccating region.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a law in March allowing for the commercial cultivation of hemp containing up to 0.2% THC “for industrial purposes not related to the production or manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,” which remain illegal. (By comparison, marijuana sold legally for recreational use in Massachusetts may contain up to 0.3% THC.)
If this miracle crop sounds too good to be true, it may be.
“The environmental benefits of hemp are often exaggerated in the popular press; hemp is not ‘the key to our green future’,” wrote Jerome H. Cherney of Cornell University and co-author Ernest Small in the journal Agronomy in 2016. Hemp “is susceptible to significant soil erosion and soil nutrient depletion, and also has a relatively high water requirement. In particular, the relatively high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium requirements of a hempseed crop tend to refute the excessive sustainability claims for hemp”.
Uzbekistan isn’t the first country in modern Central Asia to pursue industrial hemp production.
In neighbouring Kazakhstan, an outfit called KazHemp has been harvesting the plant since 2017. One tonne was reportedly exported in 2018. But the Interior Ministry has cooled on the project and that year authorities destroyed a batch of KazHemp’s harvest for containing too much THC. Asked by local journalists earlier this year if KazHemp operates legally, an Interior Ministry official declined to answer, but said the ministry reserves the right to analyse the company’s output at any time.
This article originally appeared on Eurasianet here.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: