The National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana passed the Industrial Hemp Act on August 8, 2022.
The act decriminalizes hemp cultivation and paves the way for a licensed industry.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha called hemp “a win-win situation for all the players involved.”
In a statement to Caribbean National Weekly, Mustapha said, “For growers, it will be a source of income and jobs. For consumers, it will have significant benefits, and for the broader economy, it will be a valuable source of foreign exchange, especially in the context of economic diversification.”
The new law will allow Guyana to create an industrial hemp regulator, the Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority, with a governing board.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall told the National Assembly that hemp production in the nation will first begin in two regions, which he described as “depressed”. He said that hemp would help to stimulate employment and economic activities in these regions. Nandlall also said that hemp would help the nation’s environment.
“It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere with one acre of hemp being able to absorb over 22 tons of carbon dioxide,” Nandlall said during his remarks. “When harvested, it replaces more polluting materials in the manufacturing industry and provides alternatives for sustaining the environment.”
The measure establishes a Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority and a governing board, which will include representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, and the Private Sector Commission.
The board will be responsible for issuing licenses to cultivate or manufacture industrial hemp, produce hemp-related products, or conduct research on industrial hemp. A cultivation license would be valid for three years while a manufacturing license would be valid for 15 years. Operating without a license could result in a $500,000 fine and imprisonment of up to one year.