It’s time for India to legalize weed

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an extract from the hemp plant which has almost no intoxicating properties. According to Dr. Peter Greenspoon, instructor with Harvard Medical School and an expert on medical cannabis, CBD is used to effectively treat anxiety and pain, and certain forms of childhood epilepsy that are difficult to manage. The American Association for Cancer Research findings shows that marijuana slows down tumor growth in brain and lungs. In India cannabis was historically used in our traditional medicine. In the Rigveda also there is mention of cannabis. In America around 33 states allow marijuana sales at least for medicinal use. The industry has become a new source of revenue and employment generation. Tax collections has also surged in Colorado. Sales in 2016 were close to $7 billion in North America alone, with projection for $20 billion by 2021. According to California based Grand View Research the global legal marijuana market is estimated to stand at over $66 billion by 2025. Thailand and South Korea legalized the use of marijuana last year.  Weed, marijuana, bhang, charas, ganja and so on, cannabis in India has been given numerous names and forms over thousands of years. Cannabis has been a part of India, specifically in the Hindu religion, used in the form of charas (resin), bhang (seeds), and ganja (flower of cannabis). The most commonly used form of cannabis in India is in the form of bhang used to make 'Thandai', a milkshake laced with cannabis seeds and leaves, consumed on Hindu festivals of Holi and Shivratri, the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla, and other festive forms. If Marijuana is found in someone's 'possession', the assumption is made that the accused was aware of its existence and it is up to the accused to prove that he or she has not  been breaking any laws. Possession is also defined in a broad fashion, usually indicating that even if a roommate/flatmate is caught with it, the others might also be held liable unless they can prove that they had no knowledge of it. An illicit trade in Marijuana is in existence, and is quite prevalent in college campuses, etc. across the country. In most instances, when caught by police in possession of Marijuana, a bribe is enough to get you off without any criminal record or any actual problem. The law exists, but is rarely enforced for small amounts. China remains the world’s largest producer of hemp, albeit a hallucinogen-free strain of cannabis. When Canada legalized cannabis there was a fear that employees and students would be high on meetings and classes. But consumption was mainly noticed among people above the age of 55. If that is the case, there is no harm in making it legal in India as well. One of my relatives was diagnosed with brain tumor last month and since then his condition has been deteriorating. I wished if the government had legalized it then he would have at least got some relief for a few days.

Soumya Bhattacharyya

PGDM Batch- 2019-21

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