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Turkey

Israel: How Do You Export Cannabis in the Time of Coronavirus?

It’s tough to be stuck in the house, especially if you want to save the world. Or at least your company. Some Israelis are finding ways to do business that would under non-coronaviral conditions require them to fly.

Turkish scientists produce electricity using urine from marijuana consumers

Pre-legalization, the easiest way to catch someone consuming marijuana was to force them to take a urine test and analyze for any presence of marijuana components.

Now, post-legalization, scientists have uncovered another use of the urine test — by using the components within urine to produce electricity.

In a new study, published in Biosource Technology Reports, Turkish scientists have successfully remove cannabis metabolites from the urine of pot consumers to generate a household necessity.

State of the Leaf: Marijuana Legalization News Roundup

U.S. News Updates

Arkansas

Turkey legalises controlled cannabis production

New government regulations will allow highly-controlled and ministry-sanctioned cannabis production in selected provinces for medical and scientific purposes

Turkey has legalised cannabis production in 19 provinces in order to crackdown on illegal production, according to new regulations by The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

Published in the Official Gazette in late September, “Hemp Cultivation and Control of Regulations” will allow highly-controlled and ministry-sanctioned cannabis production in the selected provinces for medical and scientific purposes.

Under the regulations, growers must obtain permission from the government allowing them to grow the plant for a three-year-period, Turkish newspaper The Hurriyet reports.

The Complicated History of Cannabis in the Islamic World

Although the Koran does not specifically outlaw cannabis, and it was apparently never mentioned by Mohammed himself, the plant and products made from it are still considered haraam (forbidden). However, cannabis grows and is processed into hashish in many Muslim-majority countries around the world, and it has been an undeniable part of the culture for centuries in many of these countries.

Marijuana laws take a new turn in Middle East

Recently Mexico became one of the few countries to legalize marijuana cultivation and possession, joining Bangladesh, Colombia, Uruguay, and others. But in some regions, most specifically the Middle East, there is a set of strict laws when it comes to cannabis possession or cultivation.

Marijuana or cannabis is not specifically banned in Islam but its effects have been likened to alcohol, which is banned by the religion, that’s why its ban is so widespread in the Islamic countries for religious reason.

WATCH: Italian police seize 11 tons of hashish on board freighter MUNZUR

General cargo vessel MUNZUR was intercepted by Italian police on December 2 in Tyrrhenian sea northeast of Pantelleria island, near Sicily, on a suspicion of drug trafficking.

A huge quantity of hashish was found, some 11 tons divided into 500 parcels. It was a final stage of an international operation, involving Spain, Portugal, Greek and Italian drug enforcement agencies and Europol.

Cannabis As Treatment For Epilepsy Is One Step Closer To Being OK’d

In the 31st International Epilepsy Congress in Istanbul, recent trials showed that cannabis may actually help in the treatment of epilepsy, but its effect doesn’t make any significant difference with other anti-epileptic drugs.

Professor Helen Cross of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London said that although cannabis may help in the treatment, its usage is still subjected to further research to evaluate its efficacy and safety.

‘We have to be particularly concerned about the effects of the drug on the developing brain in children,’ Cross said.

Turkey’s synthetic cannabinoid consumption spiked 200 percent last year

The United States has said in a new report that Turkey’s consumption of bonsai, or synthetic cannabinoid, surged a staggering 200 percent last year.

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Erdogan wants to revive cannabis production, and Turkish Islamists love it

ISTANBUL, Turkey – When municipal officials from all over Turkey arrived at the presidential complex on Wednesday to attend a speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they didn’t expect him to speak about cannabis.

They were at the symposium to discuss something quite different: the role of local administrations in the new presidential system.

We destroyed cannabis in this country because of some enemies who were disguised as friends

But Erdogan, who is known to change the content of his addresses spontaneously upon delivery, despite having a large group of speechwriters, took a different route.

To the congregated officials’ surprise, he began railing against plastic bags and the need to protect the environment. His solution? Cannabis.

“I remember my mother used to knit shopping bags that we could use when shopping. You don’t throw them away immediately, and go out shopping with them again. It is earth friendly, even if you wanted to dispose of it,” he said.

“These are made of cannabis.”

The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, Erdogan revealed, was set to revive the cannabis cultivation industry, with a view to encourage the production of a raft of local products using new incentives.

“We destroyed cannabis in this country because of some enemies who were disguised as friends,” Erdogan said.

Some, like journalist and writer Yunus Eksi, an expert at Eurasia Strategic Researches Center (ASAM) who spoke to Turkish media last week, believes US policies forced Turkey into curbing cannabis farming.

“The US government, by leveraging its financial power, pressured other countries into removing cannabis-based medications from their national codex,” he told Russia’s Sputnik agency.

“After the US banned 37 cannabis-based medications, European countries followed its lead. Turkey also excluded cannabis products from its medical system from 1940 onwards.”

Erdogan’s own rhetoric for the reason suggests that his government also agrees with this theory.

The Turkish opposition, however, says that the policies of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) are some of the fundamental reasons behind low production.

Deputy chairman the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Orhan Saribal, told Russia’s Sputnik agency that the cannabis farming industry was destroyed by the government with faulty agricultural regulations.

“It was mostly destroyed before this government due to lack of incentives and increasing costs. But it totally ceased to exist thanks to this ruling party,” he said.

Blunt response

Since that announcement, developments have moved fast.

On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Berat Pakdemirli unveiled the project. He said that government has already permitted cannabis production in 19 provinces, and there were plans to increase the number of farms depending on the demand.

“Samsun Black Sea Agricultural Institute and Ondokuz Mayis University are conducting a research project on cannabis. We will approve new locations that will produce organic cannabis,” he said.

Governor of Kirklareli Osman Bilgin, followed suit later that day.

“There are 2.5 million cannabis plants naturally grown in our city. We won’t burn them anymore. We will contribute the economy with them,” he said, adding that the crop could be used to produce ship ropes.

Bilgin’s statements were quickly mocked on Twitter because of his claim that the cannabis plants weren’t planted by farmers but grew naturally. One Twitter user joked that it was because of these plants there was a very low crime rate in Kirklareli.

On Sunday, daily Dirilis Postasi published a full front-page spread on the topic, with the headline “Cannabis production is a national matter.” The story included a very large graph with which the newspaper laid out the perceived benefits of cannabis, from the energy sector to the textile industry.

Diriliş Postası, kenevir üretimi için 2 yıldır canla başla mücadele veriyor.
Kenevir üretimi memleket meselesi https://t.co/RW6jWmJ8fW pic.twitter.com/L9wtzrTrMr

The article also accused “Western imperialists” of drying out Turkish soil “anywhere they set foot” in order to prevent agricultural work in the country.

Abdurrahman Dilipak, one of the most prominent Islamist writers who defends the legalisation of cannabis production and medical use, penned a column in the Yeni Akit newspaper the same day as Dirilis Postasi’s spread came out.

Dilipak argued that cannabis is only psychologically addictive and harmless compared to heroin and other drugs, so should not be treated as such.

“[The] Turkish Social Security Administration [SGK] should produce medication based on cannabis and distribute without a charge under the supervision of medical doctors,” he said, adding that in this way sale of cannabis could be taken from the hands of organised crime that profits from it.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

President hopes reviving the industry will signal high times ahead for Turkey's economy and environment