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Legalization of Marijuana in India: Pros, Cons and Other Alternatives

Decriminalization of Marijuana has always been a topic of debate since a long time. Objective of the article is to present the common arguments for as well as against legalization of marijuana in the country. Alternatives other than prohibition or legalization such as sin tax, educational programs are also suggested.

Discussions about cannabis' legalization have gained steam in Indian society as opinions towards marijuana change on a worldwide scale. Advocates claim that legalization might have a significant positive economic impact, reduce the load on the criminal justice system, and possibly have medical benefits. While opponents have worries about the effects on public health, rising drug misuse, and cultural repercussions. We can obtain a thorough grasp of the intricate problems related to the legalization of marijuana in India by exploring these viewpoints.

The History of Cannabis in the Indian context

Cannabis has been a part of the Indian culture since time immemorial, whether as bhang in Holi, or in religious ceremonies, and recreational purposes. It was mentioned for the first time ever in the Vedas during the period 1400BC to 2000 BC. It was believed as one of the only five sacred plants.

With deities residing in its leaves. It was frequently utilized in the traditional medical system of Ayurveda in ancient India. The therapeutic applications of cannabis for a variety of diseases, such as digestive issues, and neurological illnesses, body pain are described in ancient Ayurvedic scriptures and Vedas.

The Central Act of 1930 was passed of the first drug prohibition laws in India. Though the NDPS act banned sale and possession of marijuana across India. With time and advances in the field of drug trafficking and drug addiction, both nationally and internationally, many gaps in existing legislations have emerged.[1][2]

Pros of legalization

  • The consumers are forced by the statute to purchase products the from a local dealer or, more commonly, from black market. Users would be able to obtain the goods through legal channels.
  • Legalization would address the major issue of drug cartels and black-market sales while also making safer and higher-quality pharmaceuticals available to consumers.
  • One of the most alluring and contentious aspects of legalizing marijuana is the tax money. On the plus side, tax revenue obtained from sales may be utilized to improve h research on infrastructure, education, and other important goals. As is well known, a significant amount of police resources as well as money are used to uphold the anti-marijuana regulations.
  • A large number of offenders under the NDPS act are those prosecuted for mere possession or consumption of marijuana. Legalization of marijuana would allow the state to direct the precious time of police and state fund towards prevention of crimes which are more dangerous and harm public at large.
  • The incidents of fight and violence between drug gangs and sometimes between the supplier and consumer is also an issue which can be resolved. The legalization would enable the suppliers to do the business in legitimate way and both the suppliers and the customers can take help of legal authorities in case of any dispute related to business or product quality. Thus, ensuring peace and tranquility in society and preventing such drug reacted violence.

Cons of Legalizing Marijuana
  • It is believed that for many people marijuana acts as a gateway drug. Who in some cases switch to other hard drugs like heroin, cocaine in layer stages of their life.
  • In India drunk driving leading to road accidents is already a major issue, which leads to grievous injuries and loss of life per year. It is asserted that further legalization of marijuana will add to the already existing problem. And would create more responsibility on the police and add burden on the government resource for safety and enforcement of the laws.
  • There have been several theories and claims made by the opponents of legalization starting from the danger it poses to the youth [3] especially vulnerable teenagers, secondhand smoking, road accidents, to long term brain damage and lung cancer.
  • Particularly if the assertions that it is more than cigarettes are true, especially if it is as addictive as other narcotic. These still need to be discovered through well-funded research. When considering marijuana-related laws, we tend to lean either toward legalization or prohibition. But there is also a middle ground. And perhaps it's a superior strategy for some justice introductions for specific social groups.

Alternatives to prohibition or legalization:

  • Sin tax is a widely used concept [4]. Often applied on goods including cigarettes, alcohol, and fuel. As demand [5] is responsive to price. Such laws are designed to discourage the usage of particular products by increasing their tax obligations.
  • Educational campaigns:
    Programs that focus on harm reduction seek to reduce the negative effects of marijuana usage rather than just criminalizing or legalizing it. To assist users in making educated decisions and lowering risks associated with addiction, mental health, and social repercussions, these programs provide education, counseling, and support services. These can be effective only when it reaches the target group, and in an effective way. A community-based educational approach should be taken. Not a pedagogical or religious instructional training.
  • The supply chain of marijuana could be managed by the government, similar to how certain state and local authorities handle the distribution of alcohol. The underlying rationale is that by removing the profit motive, the government would be compelled to consider public health, safety concerns, and other potential issues in addition to financial incentives.

Main objective of any legislation should be to reduce the harms caused by the drug rather than its actual usage. There is still a lot we don't know about this medicine, it's crucial that money made from such sales be used to fund relevant research into its potential effects and negative effects.

To conclude it can be validly stated that the way a particular drug is treated legally influences the drug markets and related enforcement [6]issues. As an alternative, a closely monitored strategy, like decriminalisation or medical legalisation, might achieve a compromise between addressing the potential advantages and reducing the hazards connected with marijuana.

In the end, any choice made on whether or not to legalise marijuana in India should be supported by a careful analysis of the possible effects on public health, society, and the economy, while also safeguarding the general welfare and safety of the people of India.

  1. Jenner, Matthew S. "International Drug Trafficking: A Global Problem with a Domestic Solution." Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 901�27, 2011.
  2. Rao, S. V. Joga. "Drug Addiction: Penal Policy." Journal of the Indian Law Institute, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 275�84, 1992.
  3. Thornton, Mark. "Prohibition versus Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?" The Independent Review, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 417�33, 2007.
  4. Miron, Jeffrey A. "The Economics of Drug Prohibition and Drug Legalization." Social Research, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 835�55, 2001.
  5. Nadelmann, Ethan A. "Thinking Seriously about Alternatives to Drug Prohibition." Daedalus, vol. 121, no. 3, pp. 85�132, 1992.
  6. Miron, Jeffrey A. "The Economics of Drug Prohibition and Drug Legalization." Social Research, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 835�55, 2001.

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