MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) – Some would call it a mega buzz kill.
Eighteen tons of wild cannabis, or about two million plants, have been mowed down and destroyed in southern Russia as part of an ongoing campaign to uproot cannabis in the country, the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) said Monday.
The plants were growing on three hectares (7.4 acres) of land belonging to an agriculture college in the Konstantinovsky district of the Rostov Region, the regional FSKN branch said in a statement.
Wild cannabis grows in abundance in southern and central Russia, the heartland of a once-thriving hemp industry. Unlike marijuana from Central Asia or India, Russian cannabis contains very little THC, the main psychoactive compound. However, it is technically possible to get high from the plants by extracting and processing parts of them.
Viktor Ivanov, head of the FSKN, urged Russian scientists in 2011 to breed a strain of cannabis that contains no THC and could be planted instead of wild cannabis. He said the new strain would help revive Russia’s hemp industry and create new jobs, while adhering to drug legislation.
Tsarist Russia was a major exporter of hemp to Western Europe, where it was used for making ropes, textiles and paper.