Pakistan Approves Cannabis Plant Regulation Ordinance

The newly sanctioned ordinance underscores Pakistan’s commitment as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.

In a significant development, the President of Pakistan has given his nod to the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2024, marking a pivotal step towards regulating the cultivation, extraction, refining, manufacturing, and sale of cannabis plant derivatives for medical and industrial utilization.

The newly sanctioned ordinance, named the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2024, underscores Pakistan’s commitment as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. This international agreement recommends the establishment of a governmental agency to oversee the cultivation and production of cannabis, in alignment with Article 23, while Article 28 pertains to matters concerning opium poppy and related issues.

Under the provisions of this ordinance, an authoritative body, the Cannabis Control and Regulatory Authority, is slated to be established. This authority will operate under the administrative purview of the relevant division.

Additionally, a 13-member Board of Governors will be constituted, with the Secretary of Defence Division assuming the role of chairperson. The board will comprise key officials including the Secretary Cabinet, Secretary Law and Justice, Secretary National Food Security and Research, Chief Secretaries from each province, two members from the private sector, the Chairman of PCSIR, representatives from Inter-Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau, a member from the Anti Narcotics Force, one member from DRAP, and the Director-General, who will also serve as a member-cum-Secretary.

Empowered with the mandate to make policy decisions, the board will advise the federal government on all matters concerning cannabis policy, encompassing recommendations for additions, alterations, or omissions in the policy framework outlined by this ordinance. Furthermore, it will possess the authority to issue licenses for activities requiring such authorization.

Moreover, the ordinance grants the federal government the prerogative to convene board meetings at its discretion, on any pertinent matter necessitating the board’s decision-making prowess. Meanwhile, a Director-General of the authority will be appointed by the Prime Minister, subject to stipulated remuneration and terms and conditions.

In line with the ordinance’s directives, the government is authorized to appoint personnel, advisors, and consultants to facilitate the smooth conduct of business related to cannabis regulation.

Furthermore, the federal government is mandated to periodically formulate and prescribe a national cannabis policy, governing all facets of the cannabis derivatives market, encompassing cultivation, local production, sales, as well as export and import conditions for cannabis and its derivatives.

Notably, licenses will be issued for a duration of five years, with a dedicated committee slated to be established for the issuance of licenses aimed at the development of prescription and non-prescription drugs derived from the cannabis plant, catering to pharmaceutical, herbal, and nutraceutical purposes.

This landmark ordinance reflects Pakistan’s proactive stance towards regulating the cannabis industry, ensuring its responsible utilization for both medical and industrial purposes, while concurrently addressing pertinent regulatory concerns.