Marijuana or cannabis sativa, also known as ganja or weed is one the most common subject of debate among people in India these days. Some argue that it will be beneficial to make Marijuana legal in India while some say it will cause havoc in the country and people especially youth. Currently, it is the most commonly used illegal “drug” in the world with people consuming it in some form or the other every year. And this debate to legalize Marijuana has been going on for ages.
How Does Marijuana connect with religion?
Use of marijuana in India has been historically bound to faith and mysticism. It is also associated with the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. It is said to be a drug that helps the user attain “ecstasy in the original sense of the word”. In a Hindu dominated country like India, festivals like Holi often involve marijuana or ‘bhaang’ consumption as a refreshment.
Marijuana in India vs. The US and other nations
Under the laws governed by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985; the consumption of Marijuana or weed in India could lead to a jail term of six months or a fine of Rs 10,000. A person can be punished with a jail term of up to 10 years for illegal production and cultivation. Nevertheless, cannabis in India still dominates illicit drug trade across the nation.
Whereas, more than half the states in the US and 16 other countries around the world including Argentina and Australia currently allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, particularly for treating chronic pain, nausea after chemotherapy, epilepsy, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The implementation of stringent narcotic laws in 1986 made the sale, consumption, production, and transportation of marijuana illegal in India. But after resisting the United States’ pressure for 25 years, India finally clubbed marijuana with other hard drugs. The truth is, marijuana is technically not a chemical drug as it isn’t chemically synthesized like hard drugs including cocaine, meth, etc.
Why should Government make Marijuana legal in India?
After having an intense debate with a few people and researching on the web, I have listed down 5 major reasons to support the argument of making Marijuana or weed legal in India.
1. It will eliminate illegal trade and associate crimes
Making Marijuana legal in India will replace the black market production and distribution with an ‘overboard industry’. But, specific rules and laws will suppose to be implied in the trade. This will shift the trade in the right hands say the government itself, farmers, merchants and retails clerks. This way, the government will completely abolish the crime associated with the drugs.
2. Marijuana addiction is uncommon
An epidemiological study showed that only 9 percent of those who use marijuana end up being clinically dependent on it. On the other hand, the comparable rates for tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol stood at 32 percent, 16 percent, and 15 percent respectively. Hence it can be concluded that marijuana has the least likely chances of addiction by the user.
3. Taxing marijuana will increase government’s revenue
By making Marijuana legal in India followed by tax imposition on its trade, the government can curb crime and terrorism funded by drug cartels. Moreover, it will definitely increase government’s revenue. One strong example is Colorado, US. The legalization of Marijuana there has created 10,000 new jobs there. There are a plethora of jobs that can be made by the weed business and help lessen India’s unemployment rate.
In states like Himachal Pradesh