Turkey has just made a significant step toward marijuana reform. The country has legalized scientific and medical cannabis production in nineteen provinces. However, cultivating and using weed for recreational purposes remains illegal.
Turkey wants to fight illegal marijuana production. The country decided to legalize cannabis cultivation for medical and scientific purposes under strict regulation and improved government control. Thus, growing cannabis will be allowed in nineteen provinces: Zonguldak, Yozgat, Uşak, Tokat, Sinop, Samsun, Rize, Ordu, Malatya, Kütahya, Kayseri, Kastamonu, Karabük, İzmir, Çorum, Burdur, Bartın, Antalya, and Amasya. Other provinces will also be able to cultivate cannabis; however, they must prove that their harvest is used only for scientific purposes. Otherwise, their cannabis will be considered illegal.
Possessing, purchasing or consuming the herb in Turkey is punished by two years in prison. Selling or trafficking cannabis will lead to up to ten years behind bars.
Licensed Turkish cultivators will be allowed to grow weed for three years. Growers that have any connection with the illegal market will not have the right to participate. Turkish scientific cannabis will be monitored by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock. Officials from the Ministry are going to visit cannabis farms every month during the harvest season. Once the harvest is gathered, the cultivators must dispose of the remaining herb particles to make sure they will not be used for psychoactive purposes.
Turkey is not the first Middle Eastern country that expands its cannabis program. Israel is now one of the world's leading countries in medical marijuana research. Moreover, Israeli officials believe that medical cannabis will become a bigger and more profitable industry than arms export.