Spare The Rod And Spoil The Child-Why India Is Not Ready To Decriminalize
Cannabis, Just Yet.Cannabis use has been prevalent from times immemorial, especially in a place
like India whether it is in the form of Ganja or Bhang. Cannabis can be used in
several forms. It is often smoked as a dry, shredded green and brown mix of
flowers, stems, seeds, and leaf. It can be smoked as a cigarette, in a pipe or
bong, or as a blunt.
A blunt is a cigar casing that has been filled with
marijuana. It might also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. A more
concentrated form called hashish is made from the tops of female plants. Users
can become dependent on or addicted to marijuana, just as someone can with
alcohol and tobacco. A person is dependent on cannabis when they have withdrawal
symptoms. Someone is addicted to the drug when the drug use interferes with many
aspects of life but they still can't stop using it. Drug use may affect their
finances, school work, and social life.
Cannabis can be harmful in several ways.
Some of these are felt right away. Others damage a person's health over time.
Marijuana affects short-term memory and the ability to handle difficult tasks.
When using stronger types of marijuana, even simple tasks can be difficult.
The drug affects a person's ability to understand and also their reaction time.
So users get in car crashes more often than people who don't use cannabis. In
India lately a lobby has emerged to legalise cannabis, for medical use,
industrial use, and recreational.
Cannabis and its derivatives describe all products derived from the cannabis
plant. Cannabis plant products include the flowering tops (marijuana),
compressed cannabis resin (hashish), Cannabis oils and concentrated cannabis
extracts (waxes). Cannabis has two components – THC (Tetra Hydrocannabinoid) and
CBD (Cannabinoid). CBD has few psychoactive effects and has anti inflammatory
and Neuro Protective effects, THC produces the psychoactive effects such as
euphoria, relaxation and heightened sensory experiences sought by recreational
# Section 2 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, act
clearly demarcates in its definition of what is included and what is
exempted-The flowering tops, seeds are not allowed to be cultivated whereas the
leaves are exempted from this act.
# Cannabis is mistaken as a plant of only one variety- ironically
Cannabis has several varieties with varied Components of THC and CBD. The most
commonly used Cannabis plants are – Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Bhang
is a type of cannabis sativa, called Hemp, which has a low THC content and is
not illegal to consume in India.
Legal Stance in India.
The government is working on ascertaining the greater usage of CBD which may be
used as an analgesic, even though it’s not as potent as morphine. Cannabis
license is allowed and the state government has been given full autonomy to
provide the license, subject to the conditions and the situation of that state.
As of date the state of Uttrakhand and Jammu and Kashmir have issued licenses to
those players who have a registered research centre.CSIIR-IIM and a start up
from Bombay, called Bombay Hemp company has come in collaboration with the state
government with regard to conducting an extensive research in Cannabis and its
medicinal uses along with industrial uses.
# Section 9, gives Central Government to permit control and regulate has
control over opium whereas.
# In Section 10 gives power of state government to permit control and
regulate, cultivation, to transport Cannabis. So it cannot be said that opium is
at par with Cannabis.
# Section 14 special provision relating to cannabis for horticulture use.
Section 64 power to tender Immunity from prosecution.
# Section 64 says Immunity from prosecution to addicts volunteering for
treatment. This is in a way partial decriminalization of the Cannabis, as per
the stand by the department of revenue. Because there is no jail time or penalty
for the same so the approach of the government with regard to Cannabis is apt.
Bhang is allowed and is exempted from the NDPS act , because of only this
reason, that its THC content is low, and it is the leaf of the Cannabis plant,
and this variety is called hemp, production and cultivation of hemp is allowed
by the state government provided they fulfill the requirement of declaring the
plant in question or the seed in question, having a low THC content, as per the
government of Uttrakhand in their rules of sanctioning the license, they require
the licensee to declare that for industrial purposes the cannabis in question
should have THC as low as 0.3%.
# Also CSIIR-IIM (Council Research Institute) has come together in
collaboration for research and have obtained license in the state of Jammu and
# Section 2 of NDPS has given clear definition of what is included in
Cannabis plant which is allowed and what isn’t. The flower and the seeds are
declared unlawful while the leaves have been exempted. Besides this the immunity
aspect has been given to the addicts of cannabis which in a way means that
cannabis is partially decriminalized.
# About the contention on cannabis being at par with opium is totally
wrong as the deciding authority on opium is the Centre and for cannabis the
state enjoys all autonomy for the same. So it’s not at par with opium.
# As per the survey conducted by The Ministry of Social Justice in the
year – the three substances that are abused in India are - Alcohol, Cannabis,
and Opium. Which means, alcohol as liquor out of the way, the number one
narcotic substance is cannabis?
Repercussions If Cannabis gets a green signal.
What is Law eventually, it’s simply to regulate people. By decriminalizing
cannabis, the government will allow the consumption of THC content and have it
spread rampant in the society such that of India, the regulation will go in
dustbin and slowly the Pandora’s Box will open and eat up the whole society into
a full blown anarchy. If you want that, then go ahead and issue notice and take
it even further but if you understand the seriousness of the issue at hand this
matter shouldn’t see another light in the court. The WHO report on drug
dependency states that usually cannabis precedes other drugs, overtime the
person develops tolerance of the drug, the high and euphoria is not as dense and
is usually short lived, eventually making the person move on to bigger pastures
- Opium, Cocaine etc. An excerpt of Medical Marijuana paper states that upon
experimentation a person got catalepsy after consuming Bhang, it’s a state where
in one loses consciousness and rigidity of body takes place.
People are also contending on trying to draw parallels on how USA has legalized
Cannabis, and is heading towards a progressive society. The circumstances under
which Cannabis has been legalized are very grave; a serious percentage of the US
population has been addicted to cocaine, heroin leading to high number of deaths
and abuse. The drug problem took over USA, hence as a step to reduce the
occurrence of deaths and serious addictions to synthetic drug, a lesser evil, a
lesser intoxicant was thought as the best solution to minimize the Cocaine and
Opium usage. However in India we have got no such issue and we certainly cannot
draw parallels without considering the context. However the state governments
are giving licenses if they can declare that the hemp/Cannabis they are going to
be using should have a low THC content – between 0.3% to 1.5%.
Aditya Barthakur vs. Department of Family health and welfare.
Cannabis remains contraband in India, after the Bombay high court dismissed a
petition filed in April to decriminalise its use, on the ground that the
legislature, and not the court, was the appropriate forum for the challenge.
A bench of justices VM Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi dismissed advocate
Aditya Barthakur’s petition that had produced evidence of the medicinal benefits
of Cannabis, and ordered:
We are afraid that this Court while exercising its writ jurisdiction under
Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot grant the relief. Apart from
that, the Petitioner has produced certain technical data regarding useful
effects of Ganja etc. We are afraid that we are not experts in the field and the
Petitioner can raise this issue in the Parliament.
Prashant Sharma vs. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and ors
The Delhi High Court dismissed on 26th July with a cost of Rs 10,000 a petition
seeking to legalise cannabis, a banned drug which attracts criminal prosecution,
for medical purpose
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said there was no
substance in the petition and it was not inclined to grant the prayer.
It appears this petition is seeking direction to legalise cannabis for
medical use. It can only be done by bringing proper enactment or amendment under
the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. We are not inclined
to grant the prayer
the bench said.
The court said the cost of Rs 10,000 be deposited by the petitioner with the
Delhi High Court Bar Association Library fund.
The court was hearing a petition by law student Prashant Sharma seeking
direction to the authorities to allow medical use of cannabis and its allied
products, frame a proper policy for it and make necessary amendments in the NDPS
Act in this regard.
The plea, filed through advocates Pankaj Mehta and R K Mehta, said cannabis has
been erroneously treated as a criminal justice issue instead of a public health
issue and it is high time that these errors are corrected.
Great Legalization Movement Trust vs. Union of India
This matter is pending hearing and is listed in the Delhi high court for 19th
Doctors may have conflicting opinions, professional opinions, but the fact
remains that this territory, once treaded upon will open a can of worms and once
decriminalization takes place, it will only degrade the Indian society in its
rut and act as a black hole sucking up everything that comes in its trajectory.
Is India ready just yet?
Clearly not, because of our Socio economic
issues and population and our callous attitude as people. We are still evolving.
The population is diverse and not yet mature to handle this.
Till the time the government doesn’t totally ascertain as to what the uses of
cannabis are, the government cannot really give it a green signal as its misuses
far outweigh its uses. The Indian setup is not favorable for Cannabis, the
repercussions are high, the cognitive growth will be redundant in young adults
as has been verified in the INCB report (International Narcotics Control Board,
2019) It states that there are about 3.2 Crore users of Cannabis in India and
the recent WHO report has given a complete clarity on how bad the situation will
be if we open this can of worms.
The critical review report explains clearly the drug dependency that arises out
of cannabis. In the end, it makes no sense for the government to make special
laws on cannabis when it’s partially decriminalized already and is in a perfect
setup. No business can be conducted at the cost of millions of addicts. It is
imperative to understand the gravity of the situation; India needs to walk
before it can run.