Cannabis, the forbidden fruit in China, has been loathed and demonized by Chinese people for centuries. Ever since opium invaded China in the 1800s, China has waged an anti-drug war, putting cannabis, along with opium, coke, meth in its crosshair. However, despite the nation’s hostility towards marijuana, the Chinese would never give up opportunities to exploit lucrative gains from the “devil drug.”
Cannabis, which presents in hundreds of strain types, aromas, and flavors, holds a strong appeal worldwide and creates one of the most powerful economies in the world. With legal marijuana expanding into a global wildfire, many countries in the world – including Canada has taken steps to legalize its recreational use. Legal cannabis has made it the US fast-growing industry and is poised to reach tens of billions in trade. As cannabis economy soars into an exciting new era, a wave of green gold rush has wept through the globe.
The Chinese would never miss out on a gold rush. The booming pot industry, which creates a large drove of millionaires and possibly billionaires annually, has held a dazzling appeal for a country that is caught up in relentless, ruthless pursuit of material wealth. While the authorities demonized pot and vigorously crack down on marijuana use in the country, China has quietly tapped into the burgeoning cannabis trade and is poised to become a cannabis superpower.
Marijuana cultivation has not only survived but thrived in China, with authorities turning a blind eye to it. For Chinese farmers, the crop is green gold – bringing in tens of thousands of Yuan per hectare, compared to meager a few hundred RMB from more common plants such as corn. According to cannabis research scientists, many farmers who used to grow flax in China had quickly leaped to hemp production, thanks to the much higher returns.
According to media reports, massive hectares of land in Hexin Heilongjiang province, in addition to some growing areas in Yunnan, account for about half of the world’s legal commercial cropland under hemp cannabis cultivation. Despite no official figures released on marijuana farms -- with many being illegal under the current law, cannabis plantation in China is so booming that the sector is expected to grow into a 100-billion-Yuan industry in five years’ time.
The Chinese have also taken marijuana growing zealous overseas. Police raids on marijuana growth house in North America often found Chinese farmers inside. Sophisticated operations from China are investing in illegal U.S. marijuana markets to reap the profits. In a case filed in U.S. District Court in July, prosecutors allege that 10 Chinese suspects with out-of-state driver’s licenses were growing marijuana inside nine Sacramento-area homes. In July, a federal jury in Nevada convicted a 66-year-old Chinese man in connection with an 8000-plant pot growing operation.
As the cannabis industry ramps up for legalization in Canada, the number of applicants to cultivate cannabis rose 150 percent in the first quarter of 2018. It won’t be a surprise that many of the applications were from the members of the marijuana-loathing Chinese community. As the big pot is coming to the country, cannabis is expected to thrive in the backyard of those who overtly attack marijuana but covertly tap into its alluring gains.
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