China’s Hemp Industry Booms Amidst Regulatory Uncertainty

While China rigidly maintains a zero tolerance policy for marijuana, the country is the largest producer of hemp in the world. As the production of hemp increases in the country, the calls for the legalization and regulation of CBD have also increased.

After a history of use spanning thousands of years, China eventually outlawed industrial hemp in 1985. However, a sustained campaign by locals resulted in the country permitting Yunnan Province in the southwestern part of the country to resume growing this crop on a commercial scale.

Some sources also reveal that hemp is being grown on a large scale in other regions of the country, such as Jilin province, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Anhui, and Xinjiang regions.

Some regions outside Yunnan are even said to have cultivated 400,000 hectares of industrial hemp this year, but it is unclear as to why local media outlets don’t cover such news.

The recent surge in the demand for hemp products, such as CBD oil, has prompted Chinese hemp companies to conduct research and development in hemp pharmaceuticals, beverages, cosmetics and many other products.

Hanma Investment Group Co. Ltd. CEO Tan Xin says that in the beginning, his company did a great deal of research and discovered that several notable investors, such as George Soros and Peter Thiel, had invested in the hemp industry. Xin says that they realized that the hemp industry had great potential, and so they decided to go all out and start making products from this plant.

The price of shares of hemp companies listed on Chinese exchanges has been soaring since the beginning of this year, a rare thing that even attracted the attention of The New York Times to write a piece on this development.

So, is CBD legal in China? The National Anti-Drug Committee of China issued a press release in which the government agency clarified that CBD wasn’t listed among the controlled substances in the country.

However, that release fell short of saying CBD is still unregulated and therefore illegal, and that could explain why you would be hard pressed to find retail shops in China stocking CBD products.

Nevertheless, Tan Xin and other executives in the hemp industry are optimistic that the authorities will soon clarify how CBD and other hemp products can be sold and used in the country. In the meantime, the huge appetite for hemp products on the international market will keep Hanma Investment Group and other companies afloat.

Experts are of the view that hemp industry players like Geyser Brands Inc. (TSX.V: GYSR) and HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) could be concerned by the competition from Chinese hemp companies.

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