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LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: A BOON NOT A CURSE

INTRODUCTION

Bhang, Ganja, Charas, are nothing but a part of a herb known as “Cannabis Sativa”. A herb with multiple perks. Be it medically or economically. Though, I have never come in contact with any such thing. Our spiritual document, “Atharva Veda” defines a weed as one of the sacred plants, something which gives happiness[1]. Bhang, which is the main part of our “festival of colours- Holi”, Shivratri, which is considered to be a Prashad of Lord Shiva, is nothing but a strain of Cannabis. Then why there is stigma all-around concerning the legalization of Marijuana? On the other hand, consuming Bhang would be still okay for society as compared to Marijuana, which is often known as Ganja. The main reason our society is lacking behind is Inadequate or Improper knowledge. Though there are several organizations like the “Great Legalization Movement”, which provides knowledge to society about marijuana’s surprising benefits to health they don’t influence people to consume it. Their main objectives are to enhance India’s environment, economy, agro-industry, medical industry, through Cannabis.[2]

HISTORY OF PROHIBITION OF MARIJUANA

Marijuana wasn’t illegal until 1985. After the passing of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act in 19852, it was made illegal of possession, consumption, and trade of marijuana with some other drugs.[3] Article 47 of the Constitution of India was considered to be the heart of the NDPS Act. Article 47 of the Constitution of India prohibits the consumption of toxic drinks and other intoxicating drugs other than for medical purposes.[4] Another reason is the pressure built by the United States to join their “war on drugs”[5] as well as to sign the International treaty on Narcotics[6], which combat drug abuse. Though after decades, the U.S. realized its benefits and made Marijuana completely legal in 9 states and for medical purposes in many more. Only 4 U.S. States are left where Marijuana is still illegal. Though, Things are settling in India too. Likewise, Uttarakhand got the license for use of Marijuana for commercial use. One of the largest leading FMCG, Patanjali, has quoted some of the medicinal benefits of Marijuana and supported its legalization.[7] Other well-known personalities like Shashi Tharoor, Maneka Gandhi, Tathagata Satpathy, also supported its legalization.

HOW A PERK TO THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY?

Before the era of 1985, Marijuana was considered to be the backbone of the medical industry with multiple benefits from treating Cancer patients to normalizing Depression patients. Marijuana consists of 100s of natural components, two of them being THC and CBD having scientific names as Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. THC often gives the high sensation or the feeling of joy whereas CBD has medical benefits of Killing Depression, Anxiety, Treating Cancer Patients and the list goes on. Original Marijuana Herb consists of more of CBD component and less of THC component, which takes it on a safer side, not on a risky way. But the problem that arises is, according to several reports, it was found that every year Himachal Pradesh cultivates 60,000 kg of Hash and 40,000 kg of opium, where only 500 kg got seized[8]. The Remaining is supplied by the peddlers of Himachal Pradesh on Exorbitant profits. As well as, they intoxicate the level of THC and decrease the level of CBD which makes it dangerous to health. On the other hand, if it is made legal then it would help in combating one of the serious threats. About 7.5% of Indians are suffering from mental disorders[9]. Almost 2.25 million people in India have Cancer[10]. This not only helps in Quick recovery but also makes the treatment cheaper and can make the medical industry more productive.

HOW A PERK TO THE ECONOMY?

The worldwide market for legal and illegal cannabis is around $344 billion and the only legal market is expected to reach $145 billion by 2025.[11] Delhi devours 38,260 kg of Weed every year which makes it 3rd largest consumer of weed in the world after New York and Karachi. Whereas Mumbai stood at 6th in the ranking with 32,380 kg of weed.[12] These all are facts of the country where weed is illegal. Wonder how government can earn after making it legal by imposing tax and duties just like Alcohol and Tobacco. This would directly impact India’s GDP at a high pace. According to reports, Netherland experienced more than $8.7 billion in government revenue in their overall GDP after making it legal in 2017.[13] On the other hand, the U.S. accounts for more than 2,11,000 workers full-time employment in Cannabis Industry according to 2019 statistics. Whereas, 3,00,000 workers are dependent on this industry. Also, leafy wonders are known as “Hidden Job of America”[14]. On contrary, our country is not ready to even talk about the situation. They think the youth will deteriorate but they aren’t analyzing its profits. Whereas, the situation of Alcohol “THEKAS” during lockdown is in front of our eyes.

CONCLUSION

As we all know, Marijuana is considered a gateway to other hard drugs. But, according to reports, only 9% of those who consume Weed got addicted to it, Alcohol stood at 32% and Tobacco stood at 15%.[15] In contrast, addiction from weed is at a slower pace as compared to other toxicants. Though, weed has multiple health benefits which are lesser in consuming Alcohol or Tobacco. Cannabis, which is known as penicillin of Ayurvedic Medicine, which has directly linked with Lord Shiva, the creator of the Universe, has multiple perks, with the minimal curse. Even, one of the best presidents, Barack Obama, had also quoted that, “Pot (Marijuana) is less harmful than alcohol”.[16]

Author(s) Name: Ashi Singhal (IMS Unison University, Uttarakhand)

References:

[1]Atharva Veda Samhita, Book 11, Hymn 6, Verse 15

[2]Great Legalisation Movement India, <GLM India>accessed 25 March 2022

[3] Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985

[4] Constitution of India, 1950, art 47

[5] Alan Pham, ‘The war on Drugs: What it is and why it is started’ (Countrywide testing, 6 April 2020) <The War on Drugs: What It Is & Why It Started (countrywidetesting.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[6]United Nations, (‘Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961’) <Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (unodc.org)>accessed 25 March 2021

[7] Shweta Sengar, ‘Weed Energy: Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali wants Marijuana Legal in India!’ (India Times, 8 February 2018) <Weed Energy: Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Wants Marijuana Legal In India! (indiatimes.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[8] Bayar Jain, ‘Himachal Pradesh could soon legalize Cannabis Cultivation’ (Travel Leisure, 25 March 2021) <Himachal Pradesh Could Soon Legalise Cannabis Cultivation (travelandleisureindia.in)>accessed 25 March 2022

[9] Melathy Iyer, ‘7.5% Indian suffers from Mental Disorder: WHO report’ (Times of India, 25 February 2017) <depression: 7.5% Indians suffer from mental disorders: WHO report | India News – Times of India (indiatimes.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[10] Cancer Statistics in India, <Cancer Statistics – India Against Cancer (cancerindia.org.in)> accessed 25 March 2022

[11](Fortune Business Insights, November 2021) <Cannabis Market Size, Research | Marijuana Industry Growth 2028 (fortunebusinessinsights.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[12](Jagran English, 10 September 2019) <Delhi high on weed, ranks third on world’s largest cannabis consumer list (jagran.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[13] Dfaf, Volume 7, Issue 4, <untitled (dfaf.org)> accessed 25 March 2022

[14] Kevin Murphy, ’Cannabis is becoming a huge job creator’ (Forbes, 20 May 2019) <Cannabis Is Becoming A Huge Job Creator (forbes.com)>accessed 25 March 2022

[15] Earl Blumenauer ’Marijuana is less addictive than both Alcohol and Tobacco’ (Politifact, 15 May 2014) <PolitiFact | Is marijuana less addictive than both alcohol and tobacco?>accessed 25 March 2022

[16](BBC News, 20 January 2014) <Barack Obama: ‘Marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol’ – BBC News>accessed 25 March 2022