ANDONG, Oct. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — The city of Andong is pushing for the legalization of hemp (marijuana) for medical use.
It is unprecedented for a local government to push for legalization, since hemp has long been designated as an illegal drug.
Andong has many places that openly cultivate hemp because it is used as a material to make Andongpo, the highest-grade hemp cloth.
However, the legacy of hemp cloth is at risk of coming to an end as the hemp cultivation area has dramatically dwindled over the last 10 years.
According to the city of Andong on October 4th, the cultivated area for this year was only 1.5 hectares in Imha-myeon and Sehoo-myeon. Compared to 38.2 hectares in 2008, the area has decreased by 96%.
The city believes that once hemp is legalized for medical use, its cultivation will expand and industries such as oriental medicine can grow.
The city is planning to hold a joint forum with civilian institutions discussing the legalization of hemp for medical usage this coming November.
The mayor Kwon Yeongse recently wrote an article on a local newspaper arguing for the need to legalize hemp for medical use. Hemp has been proven to be effective in treating cognitive brain diseases like dementia.
Up to now, hemp buds and flowers have been incinerated (excepting stems) when making Andongpo.
During harvest season, city public officials supervise the field every year.
“Rather than using some of the 4,000 valuable ingredients in hemp buds and leaves, hemp is incinerated. Instead, it can be used to vitalize the medical industry and maintain the legacy of Andongpo, through thorough controls and regulations.” said an official.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)