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Why Should The Use of Cannabis Be Legalized And Commercialized In India?

Cannabis, rather popularly known by its name marijuana is a drug used for meditative, recreational or religious purposes. The mind-blowing compound in marijuana that provides the sensation of ecstasy or euphoria is a psychoactive substance (THC), although it contains quite 450 other alternative chemicals. It additionally contains cannabidiol (CBD) that has counter effects on the psychoactive drug which implies it doesn’t produce a state of high. Marijuana is injected in the body primarily either by smoking or vaporizing.[1]

Western countries have understood that varied bans on this drug didn’t work since it is rather hassle-free to grow and manufacture. All that the bans did was creating an international black market and criminal industry that smuggled and supplied the drugs to the masses. This also resulted in a large scale organized corruption chain of police forces and custom services. Moreover, cannabis has medicinal value.

Across the globe, most of the US, many EU nations, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Switzerland, South Africa and, North Korea have legalized cannabis in some form or another.[2] The results of such legalization include a stark increase in state revenue, a decrease in violent crimes and a decrease in the number of female prisoners. The legalization and commercialization of cannabis have been a win-win situation for both the government and the industry. U.S and Canadian stock exchange markets have boosted up several notches since the entry of the cannabis industry which is now a tax-paying, legal multi-billion dollar industry. The commercialization of this drug conjointly solves the issue of seasonal unemployment in a country. In Colorado alone, the legalization created more than 10000 jobs.

Reasons for legalization and commercialization

India illegalized the use of marijuana by declaring a hard drug in the eighties under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Although,Bhangis still legal in certain states for cultural purposes. The reasons why India should legalize marijuana are many.

Agrarian problems

India has been facing acute agrarian issues since the last 4-5 years, extreme weather conditions and low production results in ever-increasing suicide cases of farmers. Cannabis production could introduce a whole new revenue system including export earnings; this would cut short some agrarian problems of the country. In states like Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, marijuana grows naturally and is the only source of income for most of the local population. Since marijuana is illegal right now, locals are forced to sell it totraders at cheap prices and also have to live in constant fear of getting caughtby the police. The legalization of marijuana would solve this problem.

Revenue generation

If the Government starts taxing and regulating the trade of marijuana, it will have a monopoly in this market and through this, it can earn billion dollars’ the worth of revenue, the money which otherwise goes into the black market. This, in turn, would remove the organized crime industry which carries out the illegal trade of marijuana right now. A recent study‘2018 Cannabis Price Index’ conducted by ABCD revealed Delhi to be the third-highest consumer of cannabis in the world, only behind New York and Karachi. On the other hand, Amsterdam was far on the table by bagging the 56thposition.

In India, many people use cannabis or marijuana for recreational purposes and most of these are the youth of the country. They are able and prepared to pay any price for this thing therefore by eliminating the black market the government will create a large number of profits. This revenue can be used by the government in other important sectors such as education and public health. Moreover, if the government legalizes marijuana it can exercise control on the quality of marijuana as well. For example, in most states that have regulated marijuana in the US, only cannabis extract containing no more than 0.5% THC and no less than 10% CBD, by weight is allowed. Furthermore, once cannabis gets legalized, it will emerge as a massive industry and attract handsome investments. This, in turn, would boost the stock exchange of the country.

Reduction in trade-related crimes

India is a hub concerning illegal trade crimes. By legalizing cannabis/marijuana the crimes related to illegal trade would reduce since there will be no black market cultivation and distribution of marijuana. There will be laws regarding the possession, cultivation, and supply of marijuana in the market by the government and not by drug dealers. Right now even the law enforcers are acting as a catalyst in this illegal trade by taking bribes from cultivators and suppliers and keeping productive land away from the ambit of raids. The very fact that marijuana is the easiest drug to grow due to Indian atmospheric conditions further facilitates the black market.

If the government bans alcohol or cigarettes/tobacco, people will not stop drinking or smoking what will happen is that the black market for such products will rise and crime rates would be sky-high. The same reason should be applied in the case of cannabis and it should be legalized. Moreover, it would put a stopper to expensive reinforcement of marijuana laws and free law enforcers and successively, it’ll additionally scale back the court proceedings concerning crimes related to the production of marijuana.

Medical benefits of marijuana

  • Cannabis helps in regulating insulin levels in the body thus protect the user from getting overweight or diabetic.
  • According to Bone Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv, CBD helps in maintaining bone strength.
  • It alleviates anxiety and helps in combating depression due to its calming properties. It can also be used in treating PTSD and autism due to this effect.
  • It can even fight certain types of cancers.
  • It is a safer alternative to Adderall and Ritalin in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Further, it can also help in the treatment of Glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease.

Employment generation

According to the International Labour organization unemployment in India is increasing at an annual rate of about three and a half percent.[3] In the last month itself, the unemployment rate rose to a whopping 7.8%. If cannabis is legalized a new industry dealing with cultivation, processing, packing, and distribution of marijuana would emerge. This industry would require a workforce that would help in increasing employment. More people will have jobs outside the city and this will also reduce population density in cities.

Problem with prohibition

Prohibition/stringent laws do not prevent people from using marijuana, a study by Alex Stevens; professor of Criminal Justice at Kent’s School found that there is no evidence to suggest that adolescent cannabis use is lower in countries with harder/stricter policies. In Himachal Pradesh alone 70-80 thousand worth of marijuana is grown illegally annually and supplied through the black market.

Moreover, it is pretty easy to acquire marijuana in India and it is mostly used by adolescents. Marijuana is less detrimental than alcohol and if alcohol is legal then marijuana should also be. People addicted to alcohol are more prone to get involved in irrational fights and negligent/rash driving whereas the consumption of marijuana keeps the user in an exceedingly calm state of mind. Furthermore, the chances of addiction to marijuana are less than 10% whereas chances of addiction to alcohol are more than 15%.

A decrease in teen marijuana use

The Marijuana Policy Project, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, Study from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) all found out that in the states that have legalized the use of marijuana have confirmed an 11-12% drop in the use of marijuana by teenagers.[4]

Marijuana has been in our tradition for centuries. It is even mentioned in Hindu scriptures like the Atharva Veda. Ayurveda mentions the use of marijuana as a pain reliever. The disturbing fact today is that marijuana is still in the category of drugs like Heroin and Opium when it has all these medical benefits and is also relatively way less harmful than alcohol. Cannabis was illegalized only due to the pressure of western countries. Now even the western countries have realized their mistake and have started legalizing cannabis. Therefore, India too should legalize marijuana and promote its culture.


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