The BJP government in Manipur is considering to legalize plantation of Cannabis for medical and industrial purposes, the Chief Minister of the state informed the assembly on Friday.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh stated that the main purpose of legalization is to increase state revenue but the state government won’t take any decisions hastily and will research about its merits and limitations. He was replying to a question asked by Congress MLA Khumukcham Joykishan on the legalisation of the cannabis plantation.
The CM added that the government is also studying the relevant reports from other states. He also said that the govt is planning to tackle the problem of illegal poppy plantation in the state by providing alternative livelihood to the needy villagers. In this matter, he requested support from and cooperation from the members of the legislative assembly.
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Manipur is not the only state which has pondered about legalization. Madhya Pradesh government has decided to allow the farming of hemp in the state for medical and industrial process. But the cultivated hemp will not be used for consumption or trading.
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Uttrakhand was the first state which decided to legalize hemp for industrial purpose. Farmers need to get a licence by the excise department to grow cannabis in their fields. But the government has made it clear that farmers cannot sell their goods to private buyers.
In 2017, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had suggested legalizing marijuana in India, citing examples like the US where marijuana is legal in several states. Her argument was that legalization can lead to curbing of abuse in the country. Echoing similar sentiments, in 2015, Biju Janata Dal MP from Odisha, Tathagata Satpathy had suggested that legalization can lead to less dependency on alcohol.
Ancient India has had instances of the use of cannabis for medical as well as substance use. A very famous tradition is the preparation of Bhang that uses cannabis in a reasonable limit. Bhang is a very famous beverage in the festival of Holi and Shivratri. Ganja smoking is also associated with Lord Shiva.
The UNODC’s World Drug report 2016 stated that the retail price of cannabis in India was US$0.10 per gram, the lowest of any country in the world. In 2015, n 2015, efforts to re-legalise cannabis in India manifested, with the holding of medical marijuana conferences in Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi by the Great Legalization Movement India.