Interesting piece in the Guardian today who write
A bespectacled, well-dressed Islamist recently expelled from the Turkish Journalists’ Association for comparing campaigners against domestic violence to prostitutes is perhaps not the most likely candidate for ardent cannabis advocate.
“Cannabis has a thousand benefits … This plant is generally a blessing of Allah. It cleans the air, water and soil,” he wrote in his column for Yeni Akit, a conservative newspaper. “Alcohol is more dangerous.”
Industrial hemp was cultivated in Turkey’s humid Black Sea region until strict anti-narcotics laws were introduced in the 1970s: many people today attribute the change in policy to pressure from the US. Even now, cannabis remains a taboo topic, and penalties for recreational use can be as high as two years in prison.
While hemp paper and textiles production survived, the last of these factories closed down in 2000, unable to compete with cheaper petroleum-based materials imported from places such as India.