By Shaquawn Gill
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The Guyana Hemp Association (GHA) has expressed its deep satisfaction with the passage of the Industrial Hemp Bill in the National Assembly by the PPP/C administration.
This follows a request for its passage in 2016 which was denied by the APNU+AFC administration.
In an interview with the department of public information, project coordinator/consultant of the GHA Pride Bacchus explained that the first proposal was made to the then APNUAFC government in April 2016, but was shunned.
“The Guyana Hemp Association petitioned Parliament in April of 2016 for Industrial Hemp to be an additional agricultural crop in Guyana and we were denied,” Bacchus reminisced.
The Project Consultant, however, explained that the Irfaan Ali-led government has taken a keen interest in the proposal, and shown their support for the same by taking it to the National Assembly for consideration.
“We are very pleased with this administration’s approach to hemp. Within two years there’s a bill [that was passed]…seeing the PPP government pushing it forward is a great step for Guyana into the future,” he explained.
Bacchus pointed out that the use of hemp will not only open a market for hemp-related products but will also be beneficial for traditional cash crop farmers because of the nutrients it adds to the soil.
“The root system [of hemp] absorbs nutrients from the bottom soil and brings it up to the topsoil. So, if you’re a cash crop farmer, you wouldn’t have to use fertilizers,” he explained.
Further, Bacchus opined that the opening of the hemp industry in Guyana can provide a pathway for marijuana farmers to participate in a legal, more beneficial industry, swerving them away from the path of crime.
“We have farmers that might be investing millions of dollars into an illegal crop, now you have a crop that is legal and you get paid for growing this crop. So instead of investing millions of dollars into something that police could just come in at any time…burning up thousands of plants, they can test and see its hemp plants, you can get paid because at the end of your growing period you have an afunctional product to sell,” Bacchus detailed.
On August 8, 2022, the Industrial Hemp Bill was passed in the National Assembly.
One of the main proposals of the Industrial Hemp Bill is the establishment of the Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority which will be responsible for governing the industry. A Board of Directors will be tasked with evaluating licenced applications and the granting, suspension, and revocation of licences.
Market research has projected the hemp industry to reach US $16 billion by 2030. The bill is currently awaiting the assent of His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.