Kırklareli governor promises cannabis production to benefit economy

The governor of the north-west Turkish province of Kırklareli has announced that his province will begin harvesting cannabis plants after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vow to restart production of the plant in Turkey.

The Turkish president spoke of the benefits of production of the cannabis plant, including using the material hemp to make clothing, a practice he said had been common in Turkey until production of the plant was “wiped out,” implying that the United States had been responsible for this.

“We are now importing the cannabis plant. If there is anything we need to produce using it, we have to import it. We are consulting the Ministry of Agriculture on the matter; someone needs to get to work on this,” Erdoğan said on Tuesday.

Kırklareli governor Osman Bilgin was apparently eager to get started right away, discussing plans to put the plants to economic use during a meal to celebrate Working Journalists’ Day on Thursday.

“Two-and-a-half million cannabis plants grow on their own in our city. We’re not going to burn them any longer,” Bilgin said. “We’ll use them to contribute to our ecoomy.”

“We had always thought of the plant as having negative uses. But if you make good use of it, it’s a good thing, if you use it badly it’s bad,” the governor said.

Turkey legalised heavily regulated production of cannabis in 19 provinces in 2016, though Kırklareli is not one of these.