'Our purity is above 99%' – the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

At the Chemsun Global pharmaceutical laboratory in an industrial park in Shanghai, the smell of fumes is so intense it leaves a bitter, chemical aftertaste in your mouth. At midnight on a recent Friday, a Chinese chemist who called himself Terry was eager to close a deal.

In the laboratory outside, a bright yellow liquid whirred around a flask. The place was filthy: surfaces were strewn with discarded rubber gloves and in one corner a sack of white powder spilled onto the floor.


China’s Marijuana Surprise

Despite a long anti-drug crusade, Beijing is positioned to be a major player in the cannabis market.

An economic stir is happening in China, but it’s in an industry you might not expect. With more than half of the 600 relevant patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Office now owned by Chinese companies, the country is well positioned to dominate the global cannabis market. Which is very surprising for a nation where drug trafficking is still punishable by death and mere possession of the substance can result in a lengthy spell behind bars.


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