This article has been written by Priyanka Bajpai, student of Amity Law School, Chhattisgarh .
Sometimes good things are interpreted wrong and are not given importance that they actually deserve. Similar thing took place with the misinterpreted drug, MARIJUANA. By listing its name we all make an image that it is bad for health and is not legal to use. The fact that it is illegal in India is true but assuming that it only has bad effects is wrong.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana comes from the Hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. It refers to the dried leafs, flowers, stems and seeds from the Cannabis Sativa. The plant contains the chemical TCH and other similar compounds. It is a psychoactive drug used primarily for medical or recreational purpose.
Why was it banned ?
In the year 1961, under US’s pressure, UN convention declared Marijuana under the category of Synthetic Drug. And due to this , Marijuana was declared to be illegal and US pressurized to put a ban on it.
India firstly denied to do so, but due to pressure from US, India declared it illegal in the year 1985. After then, Marijuana became illegal in India .Different forms such as hashish , ganja, charas are banned and deemed to be unlawful.
According to Section2 of the Narcotic Drugs and psychotropic substances act 1985, cannabis hemp means:
- Charas which is the separated resin, whether in the crude or purified form, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish.
- Ganja is the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops).
- Any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink prepared from that place.
US, the only reason why marijuana was made illegal in India , itself removed ban and legalized marijuana in nearly 27 states of US for medical purposes and in 11 states for recreational purposes. Marijuana is legal in more than 40 countries.
Marijuana is used to make painkillers and other medicines. This herb has immense benefits if used properly. Many pharmaceutical industries in US use marijuana to make various medicines and sell them in a much higher rate in India. The hemp industries in US would have been a great support to the US’ economy as it would contribute up to Three Lakh Crore by the year,2020. according to the Forbes Report, hemp industries will also create more jobs than the manufacturing industries in US. India on the contrary do not even have any such industry. US on the other hand uses hemp cultivation for production of various products like – body care products , food supplements , plastic products etc. and selling it to us in higher rate , thereby boosting its economy.
India was known for its Ayurvedic industry and marijuana was known to be the backbone of this industry. It was referred as Penicillin of Ayurvedic medicine. After the ban was imposed, this industry faced a backlog. Non – availability of Marijuana caused fall in the making and selling of Ayurvedic medicines.
All those countries with marijuana being legal, have much more gross happiness index than India. These countries experienced fall in alcohol consumption and fall in consumption of synthetic drugs like heroine and cocaine. While in India , it the opposite.
Netherlands has legalized Marijuana and has experienced fall in crime rate, increased awareness and this brought country’s regulation at its place.
In India , Uttarakhand is the only state that has allowed commercial cultivation of Hemp and provide license for its cultivation with certain limits.
Reasons for legalizing marijuana in India.
By bringing ban on Marijuana and making it illegal , India faced many problems. Earlier when marijuana was legal , India Ayurvedic Industry was in working and was generating income and employment. Medicines were made in India using Marijuana and were effective.
Certain reasons to legalize marijuana in India :
- Eliminate the illegal trade and black marketing – By decriminalizing sale of marijuana , it’s illegal selling in the market can be stopped and will replace the black market production and distribution with an “overboard industry”. There will be rules and regulations but the trade will be filled with ‘ government, farmers, merchants and retail clerks ‘ , not by drug dealers and criminals.
- Marijuana is rarely used as drugs than others – A study shown that only 9% of those who use marijuana end up being clinically dependent on it . If compared with tobacco, alcohol and cocaine, marijuana consumption is really less. After the ban imposed on marijuana , India has faced growth in use of synthetic drugs like heroine and cocaine, which is more harmful.
- Taxation of marijuana – By legalizing and taxing marijuana , the government will earn huge amounts of revenue that will otherwise go to Italian and Israeli drug cartels. Marijuana can be legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. This would increase governments revenue.
- It will Create job Opportunities – There are a plethora of jobs that can be created by the marijuana industry and can help reduce the unemployment rate. It has been seem in US as in the hemp industries.
- Using marijuana’s medical benefits – Studies have shown that marijuana has many medical benefits. It helps reduce gastric problems, it treats glaucoma , reduces anxiety, reduces cancer to spread all over body, used in preventing Alzheimer to grow. It also improves metabolism and spur creativity in our brain.
- Help the locals generate income – In states like Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu , cannabis plants grow. Marijuana is the only source of many locals. Legalizing marijuana will end this “war on drugs” targeting are own countrymen as farmers growing marijuana have to sell it to drug dealers in very cheap price and on the other hand have to face pressure from police.
- Prohibition has failed to control the domestic production of marijuana – It is said that 60,000 kgs of hash and 40,000 kgs of opium is produced in Himachal Pradesh. Out of that only 10% of it is seized annually and the rest is sold for black marketing. This shows that the prohibition has nowhere helped to stop its use.
In India, marijuana has its ancient importance. In India it is used as bhang during Holi festival, it has been given importance as Lord Shiva used to consume it. In many ways India is related to the marijuana from the roots and this herb has its own benefits . All the benefits that can make India grow its economy as it will generate products and employment , are now not there in India and by Legalizing Marijuana, this can be achieved.
Also read: The Legal Status of Cannabis in India