ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology chairman Senator Sardar Mohammad Shafiq Tareen on Monday raised the matter of the National Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Policy which was formulated by the then prime minister Imran Khan and sent to the Federal Cabinet for approval.

However, the summary was returned by the Cabinet Division for re-submission after the approval of new Federal Minister.

The committee was informed by the ministry that the Cabinet Division in its recent letter had returned the summary with the advice that it may be routed through Ministry of Narcotics Control, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Cabinet Division for further placement before the Cabinet. Therefore, subsequently comments of the respective ministries are awaited.

The committee showed its displeasure over this and commented that Hemp Policy was the “intellectual property” of Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and it should not be theft. Narcotics Control may have the role of observation but the committee strongly recommended that this initiative was the brain-child of MoST so it may be kept with the ministry. The committee also decided to take up the issue with the Prime Minister directly with the suggestions from this committee.

Senator Afnan Ullah Khan commented that the role of Commerce Ministry was not satisfactory in other export fields but it claims to promote Hemp Policy.

Senator Humayun added that Hemp is a commodity which is already having great markets.

The Committee was also briefed on the Mega-Projects initiated by National Institute of Electronics (NIE’s) and research achievements initiated in the Field of Electronics and allied technologies during the last five years.

The ministry briefed that due to lack of funds NIE was struggling for the last few years but now this institute is on the track and it’s trying its best to attract projects with the help of its own researchers. NIE is in the tendering process for many bids including the maintenance of machines in ministry of railways.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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