Cannabis also known as hemp, marijuana, or pot might be on the way of reclassifying in India, Cannabis transaction is largely illegal and strictly controlled in India. But as the United Nations (UN) has decided to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of dangerous narcotic substances. As India, alongside 26 other countries that voted Yes for the decision, we might see some new rules regarding cannabis.
Cannabis has a long history in Indian culture, its oldest origin to be known as late as 3000 BC, cannabis was consumed by people in India back in the days. It has been used in India for both medicinal and recreational purposes, it is mostly associated with Lord Shiva as a part of Indian folklore. Regulation on Cannabis or its Bhang from began during the British Era, The British Parliament enacted a law to tax bhang, ganja, charas on the reasons of “good health and sanity” of the “natives” but it was not criminalised. Criminalisation of Cannabis happened after the 1961 convention of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNCND) thus making the use of the plant and its derivatives a crime. However, India opposed the move against it by citing its social and religious link to consumption of cannabis. but later cannabis became highly regulated in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act).
The NDPS Act strictly regulates the use of Cannabis plants and their products. Charas a resin extracted from the cannabis plant is also popularly known as hashish or hash, it is separately mentioned as a regulatory substance under the law. Cannabis oil or hashish oil is also regulated in India. Ganja is derived from the flowering or fruiting part of Cannabis plant it is this mixture which is popularly known as weed pot or marijuana. The law doesn’t ban the use of seed and leaves of the plant that is why bhang consumed by people in northern states of India is not illegal similarly leaves and seeds a\ of the plant is used to make chutneys these chutneys are popular in the state of Uttarakhand.
“The CND zeroed-in on the decision to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs— where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin,” the UN said in a statement. The cannabis was listed on the CND’s prohibited list for over 60 years warranting strict control on its production supply consumption and even use for medical or therapeutic purposes. The UN said that the decision has opened the door to recognise its medicinal and therapeutical potential. An important emphasis of the UN was that the reclassification of the law might act as a catalyst for legalizing the drug for recreational purposes too.
The UN’s decision to reclassify cannabis would not make the drug immediately available for use, still few countries are opposing its decisions and still if it gets legal it will still be highly regulated in countries around the world.
This article has been written by Siddhesh Patil for The Paradigm
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