In a recent social media post, the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs announced that a company called Cpharm had agreed to invest $450 million into opening Afghanistan's first legal cannabis production facility. “Medicines and creams would be manufactured by the hashish-processing factory,” Ministry officials tweeted. “The project will be officially launched soon and hundreds of people will get job opportunities.”
An early report by Afghanistan's Pajhwok Afghan News wrote that an Australian company by the name of Cpharm had signed an agreement with the Taliban to open the cannabis facility, but the reporters apparently confused the Australian company with another business of the same name. Cpharm Australia is actually a small, family-owned business that provides medical advice about pharmaceutical products, and does not produce or cultivate cannabis or any other products.
Overnight, the small business suddenly found themselves flooded by interview requests demanding information on the supposed deal with the Taliban. "We've had probably 40 or 50 calls today,” said Cpharm CFO Tony Gabites to Reuters. “It's just out of control and it's just all lies, media guys ... not doing any due diligence on what they want to publish."
“We have become aware overnight of numerous media articles stating that Cpharm in Australia has been involved in a deal with the Taliban to be involved in the supply of cannabis in a cream,” the company wrote in a press release. “We DO NOT manufacture or supply anything. We provide a medical advice service to the pharmaceutical industry within Australia... We have no connection with cannabis or the Taliban.”
Taliban spokesperson Qari Saeed Khosty later clarified that the Cpharm in question was actually a German medical cannabis company and not the similarly-named Australian business. Khosty explained that “the company wants to build a cannabis processing plant in Afghanistan, which will create all cannabis products,” Marijuana Moment reports. “By establishing this factory, Cpharm Company will use cannabis produced in Afghanistan to make spices and a kind of cream.”
Given the Taliban's extremist stance against recreational drug use, it is certain that the legal weed program is specifically intended for medicinal use. According to the Associated Press, Afghan police have been violently rounding up homeless people who are addicted to heroin or meth and forcing them to enter rehabilitation centers. The Taliban also managed to stamp out Afghanistan's thriving illegal opium trade in 2000, but illicit production resumed after the US invaded the country in 2001.
So far, the Taliban has not released any further details about the new medical marijuana program.