Himachal set to legalise cannabis cultivation under restraint peg

After Uttarakhand, the state of Himachal Pradesh has put a nod to legalise cultivation of cannabis for a complete ‘non-recreational’ purpose. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during the Budget Session stated that a policy will be brought forth to legalise the production of cannabis in order to create hemp industry that will both benefit the farmers and the state’s economy.

The cultivation of industrial hemp (variety of cannabis sativa) will be strictly administered in a controlled manner, which is to be used for making medicines and fabrics. A policy for cannabis cultivation will be brought in Himachal with comprehensive guidelines and certification. Although the commercial usage of cannabis is banned in India, under the Narcotic Drug & Psychotropic Substance Act 1985, however, under special conditions, the Act allows States to cultivate cannabis in a controlled manner only for industrial and horticulture purposes.

The Malana village, an isolated region located in the northeast of Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh is famous for its superior quality of Malana Cream or hash. The valley has a natural growth of cannabis plants and is widely used by the locals for making ropes, footwear and other fabric items.

The legalisation of industrial hemp will formulate cannabis into multi-beneficiary products as every part of the cannabis plant will be used in making wide range of by-products. The seeds of the cannabis will be utilised for extracting cannabinol oil. The cultivation of cannabis in Malana will boost the farmers with an desirable income, simultaneously, it will expand employment in the industrial sector. Due to the high terrains and ecological biodiversity, expansion of heavy industries is preventive in Himachal Pradesh.

According to WHO research report, cannabis sativa or cannabis have shown therapeutic use of medical conditions. Scientific studies show that therapeutic use of cannabinoids in a restricted manner helps in treatment of Asthama, Glaucoma, as an Anti-depressant, an Appetite stimulant, an Anti-convulsant and an Anti-spasmodic. However, cannabis on the other hand is used as an abusive drug addiction. About 2.5 percent of world population consume cannabis illegally. Exclusive for medical reasons, countries like Canada, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Colombia, Chile, cultivates cannabis.

In 2018, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to legalise cannabis production with restricted parameters.

Rituparna Dutta

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