Law related to Cannabis: need for an Amendment.

Avni Jain
The author of this blog is a Law Student, School of Law, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis mainly known as marijuana, in India it is known as ganja, bhang, weed, hashish etc. It is a plant which is known to have some psychoactive or hallucinatory properties. It is known to calm and relax one’s mind. India has a very rich culture and one of the prominent religion in India is the hindu religion. In Hinduism Shiva who is known as the destroyer of the evil in trimurti, is seen as one of the most powerful god in the world but usually he is associated with cannabis or bhang. After due research I completely agree with the fact that he use to consume it, but the question is Why? What was the need? In the fourth Veda it is clearly mentioned that cannabis is a scared plant and as it has relaxing properties, Shiva was given cannabis by the Lords after Samudra Manthan, during Manthan a fatal poison was released, ‘halahal’ that could possibly destroy earth thus, Shiva consumed all of the poison and to calm him the plant was given. So, why is it illegal in India, why is it banned as a hard drug under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985? There are many reasons why it should be made legal and commercial, India is one of the significant supplier of illicit drugs like cannabis it is not being supplied according to the law because it is not commercialized or legal. One of the prominent reasons why our country is able to supply such drugs is because we are situated in an area where poppy can grow easily. The ‘golden crescent’ and the ‘golden triangle’ are areas which are known as the hubs of these drugs and India falls under both these areas. India is an agrarian economy where the majority of our population depends on agriculture for their income. In the recent years many farmers have been committing suicide because of low crop yield, if we legalize cannabis this problem can be solved. As it grows naturally in some parts of our country the farmers tend to cultivate it and sell it for meager money which is an illegal activity. Commercializing cannabis will be a logical step solving the agonies of the poor farmers wherein they will be able to earn optimally, without the fear of the authorities finding out and punishing them. Now, if the farmers are growing it illegally somebody must be trading it illegally to other parts of the country and the world, thus starting a vicious cycle. As a fact Delhi is on the 3rd position where cannabis is used the most, just after New York and Karachi. So if we commercialize and legalize weed illegal trade related activities would decrease, the authorities become the catalyst in such illegal trade by taking bribes and all this would possibly decrease. Moreover many countries in the west have legalized and commercialized weed. Also if the government starts regulating the trade of weed by means to taxing, etc it would provide for a new source of revenue, an industry worth billions. The money going in the black markets being used for the wrong reasons could be used by the government to build a stronger economy. In India the youth uses marijuana for recreational purposes and are willing to pay heaps of amount for it which in turn becomes part of the black market, the government could regulate it all. Even the quality of the plant could be controlled as it contains more than 500 chemicals. For example the Canadian and American stock market have boosted up since they have legalized and commercialized marijuana. Moreover, it could specify a legal age as in the case of drinking and

could put certain more restrictions as it may deem necessary. Prohibition of cannabis is not preventing its use, people are still growing it, buying it and selling it but due to this the crime  rate is increasing and eventually it is taking a toll on the farmers who are needy and poor. Also the commercialization of cannabis can generate employment in a country like ours where most of the population is young and is in need of employment this could be a great opportunity as cultivation, packaging, distribution can generate a lot of employment in the newly setup industries. Also there are a lot of medicinal purposes of cannabis it is known for its properties like relaxing and calming but also it is very effective for nausea, anxiety, pain, it also strengthens bones. Cannabis is also used for diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, HIV and Autism. Even after having so many proven medicinal uses it is not legal and commercial. The Great Legislation Movement India is a Bangalore based organization which is dedicated to spread awareness about cannabis and they have filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) The Great Legislation Movement India Trust v. Union of India & Others, to make cannabis legal and commercial in India. Their website mentions everything, the current situation of their PIL , the uses of the plant etc. They claim that every part of the plant can be used, for example seeds can be used as nuts, the leaves can be used in cosmetic products and medicines, the flowers though have an infamous image as are said to make your endocannabinoid receptors active thus maintaining a balance between the mind and body, lastly the stalk of the plant can be used as a substitute for rope, twine, canvas etc. Also the plant can be used to replace over 50,000 products in this way we could end the petro culture in India, and can introduce bio-fuels and bio-plastics. There is another startup based in Orissa, called the Vedi Herbal they are planning on setting the first ever marijuana clinic in India in Bangalore, solely for medicinal reasons. Saurabh Agrawal the founder Vedi Herbal went abroad for studies and when he came back he interacted with a lot of tribal people in Orissa and thus thought of this startup, they are presently using cannabis in some of their products. Bob Marley the legend, one of the most prominent cannabis activist said “I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is a herb and a flower. God put it here. If he put it here and he wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?”. I think that we should weigh the pros and the cons of this plant if so many religious scriptures acknowledge it as a sacred plant for example the Jews, Parsi and the Hindus etc then there must be something that we are not able to see. One action of the authorities can solve so many problems, the society and environment would rejuvenate.