Cannabis Legalisation in India

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In March 2021, Himachal Pradesh’s chief minister Jai Ram Thakur made quite an announcement. He stated that the Himachal government is thinking of coming up with a new policy for the controlled cultivation of hemp and cannabis in their state. According to the new policy, only cultivation for non-recreational purposes will be allowed. So let’s first understand what cannabis is and why this is a big decision.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is a group of plants that are known for their psychoactive usages. The flowers of the cannabis plant are dried to create one of the most common recreational drugs in the world, weed. Weed can be consumed via smoke, directly, through food. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a component of cannabis that produces the ‘high’ effect that many people associate with drug usage.

What are the effects of cannabis?

The effects of cannabis may vary and range from short term to long term. Many countries have legalised the usage of cannabis for medical purposes. Cannabis can make you feel relaxed, happy, increased hunger, more focused and creative. All these are the positive effects of cannabis. However, cannabis can also alter your reality and the way you experience it. People become unable to perceive their surroundings and time—a heightened sense of sound, almost to the point of listening to sounds that aren’t there.

While some people argue that cannabis can help people with anxiety or other stress-related issues calm down, cannabis is also known to have adverse effects. In some cases, the usage of cannabis leads to anxiety, paranoia and blood pressure fluctuations. On the other hand, there have been numerous positive researches about cannabis and its pain-relieving capacities. Therefore, it could be a breakthrough for people with chronic pain.

What does Himachal Pradesh legalising cannabis mean?

Unlike the USA, cannabis usage for recreational or medical purposes is illegal in India. The new policy in Himachal also wouldn’t give the green light to the use of cannabis for such devices. Cannabis and hemp will only get cultivated in a controlled environment. Only those strains of the plant get produced that have a low amount of THC. The reason behind this legalisation? Numerous families in Himachal use hemp to make ropes, mats and other such items. It is a tradition for the natives.

Why is Himachal Pradesh taking this step now?

For states such as Himachal Pradesh that highly depended on their tourism industry, the pandemic has been nothing short of a nightmare. Due to its geographical location, there isn’t much scope for Himachal Pradesh to expand its industrial area out of fear of landslides or floods in the mountains. To create more tourism and employment opportunities for their citizens as well as attract investors and promote themselves. The legalisation and growth of the cannabis and hemp industry is a wise option.