Kazakhstan is an interesting place. It is the largest landlocked nation on Earth, and is home to the world’s second coldest capital city called Nur-Sultan, formerly Almaty (the first being Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia). It is also the most well-known country out of the five “Stans” (Pakistan and Afghanistan aren’t included in this count), with one of the largest reasons because of the movie Borat. Weed isn’t legal in Kazakhstan, but cannabis does grow wildly throughout the country, particularly in the Chui Valley.
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Kazakhstan’s Abundance of Cannabis
Kazakhstan has a ton of weed growing naturally over the country, particularly in the Chui (Chuy) Valley. And when we say a ton of weed, what we really mean is thousands of tons. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2006 World Drug Report found the following:
- this wild field of cannabis appears to be the largest in the world
- the field covers an area of up to 400,000 hectares, or the entire state of Rhode Island
- up to 6,000 tons of cannabis could be harvested from these fields
- currently, only 500 tons is estimated to be harvested
- this cannabis has a very high THC content for being wildly grown, of up to 4%
The Chui valley cannabis field is the main source of cannabis within Central Asia. Central Asia has a population of approximately 80 million people, with the largest populations in Uzbekistan (34 million), and Kazakhstan (18.5 million). The other three Stans make up the rest, with Tajikistan (9 million), Kyrgyzstan (6.5 million), and Turkmenistan (6 million).
Kazakhstan Weed Laws
Specifics around the weed laws in Kazakhstan don’t seem to be readily available online, so let’s start with the big one first. Weed is not legal in Kazakhstan. Using cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes is illegal.
Non-medical drug use in public places is an administrative offense only, which would incur a fine, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). If however the person is caught again within a year period, a larger fine will be given. Administrative detention is also given to anyone arrested twice within a year for this.
Weed in Kazakhstan
The price of weed per gram in Kazakhstan is around 3 – 10 Euros, quite expensive given the currency rates. But also, weed use isn’t that common in Kazakhstan.
A survey conducted by the EMCDDA found that only 2.7% of people used marijuana in the last 12 months, roughly a percentage point below the world average.