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Taliban Claims to Partner with Foreign Firms on Medical Cannabis Production

It sounds terrible, but it has the same elements as a soap opera. Namely, that the Taliban, an extremist group, which takes rather radical stands against things like women’s rights and cannabis reform, would enter an international cannabis deal. Further, it was announced online Twitter.

This is what happened last week, and on a larger global scale. They say that truth is stranger than fiction—and in truth it is very hard to believe that someone did not make this up.

Below are some of the most recent developments.

Twitter Announces Taliban Deal

The Taliban Press Director announced the move in a way that may make the largest cannabis companies around the globe jealous, in particular because of all the media attention it generated. Qari Saeed Khosty claimed that a contract had been signed between the government and a cannabis firm called Cpharm to set up a $450 million cannabis processing centre in Afghanistan, and further that the facility would be “up and running within days.” The news ran globally, picked up by outlets including the Times of London.

This also coincided with a report on Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News Service that representatives of the company met with counter-narcotic officials at the Ministry of the Interior to discuss the production of medicines and creams. 

Cpharm Australia, the first company named in the press as being involved in the deal, subsequently rebuked the claim—via Reuters. According to reports, the company is not a producer but a cannabis consultancy business. Therefore it would be ineligible to increase the mentioned amount.

Confusion Upon Confusion—And the German Twist

Even though it was obvious that the story was a hoax, another report emerged in the German Language Zine. Taz.deOnly this time the Taliban claimed to have been working with Cpharm, a German pharmaceutical company. The deal was also said to have been signed on the very day that Traffic Light Coalition had agreed for recreational cannabis legalization. According to Taz.deKhosty, the Taliban spokesperson said that the agreement allows for the German company building a factory for Afghan medical marijuana processing. In return for this, the German company will have a monopoly over the nation’s cannabis industry.

Online company reports indicate that the Cpharm GmbH was founded in 2005 and liquidated in 2009. It was then deleted from the company register in 2015. You can find out more at Cpharm.orgBonn-based company, which claims on its website it has created global cannabis projects in Afghanistan. However, Chronic NewsBONGLOBAL Deutschland is a company that has been associated with this scam. We were told the fake story by BONGLOBAL, which is headquartered in Berlin. Werner Zimmerman, who was the CEO, could not be reached for comment as he was on a trip outside the country.

The Many Strange Twists and Turns…

Whatever the name of the company mentioned in Taliban communications, no matter what the stage of the project may be (if indeed it exists), there is one thing that is certain: the Taliban has been quite famously contradictory when it came to cannabis and opium. At the beginning of 2020 the Taliban banned cannabis cultivation in areas they controlled. The Taliban had taken control of all areas in Afghanistan by August and pledged to clamp down on the production of cannabis across the country. A few months later in October Yussef wafa, the governor of Kandahar said that he was having trouble with both drug users. He also prohibited farmers from cultivating opium or cannabis.

Farmers on the ground, however, have reported no real change in the group’s approach to cannabis (or them) in the last months since taking over the country in a military coup. In fact, they report a record crop this year.

This would actually be in line with the Taliban history in relation to cannabis and even poppy. Since the U.S.-funded insurgent in the 1980s against Soviet occupation, both crops have been major sources of income for the group.

The identity of the company that is working on this project, if it’s actually underway, is a mystery. 

It doesn’t matter what corporate entity is involved, they will not be able to transfer any profits from Afghanistan. This includes obtaining exemptions at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The plot gets more complicated.