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Addiction Doctor Wants Kyrgyzstan To Legalize Pot

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Kyrgyz cannabis is reputed to be among the most potent in the world, making it a lucrative cash crop for drug traffickers.

It appears ironic, then, that a homegrown addiction specialist in Bishkek wants marijuana to be legalized to reduce the number of Kyrgyz drug addicts, fight organized crime, and increase tax revenues.

Jenishbek Nazaraliev, a former presidential candidate who opened Bishkek's first private narcology clinic in 1993, wants the Kyrgyz government to consider a pilot program for the legal production of cannabis near Lake Issyk-Kul.

Rivaling the potency of marijuana from Afghanistan, international experts say cannabis is already being harvested by about two-thirds of all the families in Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul and Chui regions.

Pot plants grow wild on thousands of hectares of land there. During the first eight months of 2013, up through the annual August harvest, Kyrgyz authorities say they destroyed more than 154 tons of cannabis in the Issyk-Kul region alone.

Nazaraliev says more effective regulation over the production and sale of marijuana is an issue that eventually must be tackled by the government.

To read the full story

Written by Ron Synovitz based on reporting by Merhat Sharipzanov and RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Addiction Doctor Wants Kyrgyzstan To Legalize Pot

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