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Apple Country Gets Ground Ready for Cannabis Cultivation

Context:

Hemp refers to a botanical category of Cannabis sativa strains that are cultivated explicitly for industrial or medical purposes. While it is grown in certain regions of Himachal Pradesh, its cultivation is prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.

Relevance:

GS2- Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the article:

  1. About Hemp
  2. Legal Provisions in India
  3. Usage of Hemp
  4. Concerns with the Cultivation of Hemp in India

About Hemp:

The term ‘marijuana’ from Mexico is commonly used to describe cannabis leaves or other unprocessed plant material in many countries.

Unpollinated female plants are referred to as hashish, and cannabis oil (hashish oil) is a concentrated form of cannabinoids obtained through the solvent extraction of either the raw plant material or its resin.

In India, the cultivation of cannabis has been legalized in Uttarakhand, and controlled cultivation also occurs in select districts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

Legal Provisions in India:

The primary legislation governing cannabis (weed or marijuana) in India is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985. Under the NDPS Act, the sale and production of cannabis resin and flowers are prohibited, but the use of cannabis leaves and seeds is allowed. States have the authority to regulate and establish their own rules regarding cannabis.

Usage of Hemp:

  • The policy to permit hemp cultivation for medicinal, industrial, and scientific purposes would open up avenues for leveraging the medicinal qualities of cannabis in patient treatment and generating state revenue from hemp-derived products, the Minister stated.
  • Furthermore, allowing cannabis cultivation would reaffirm the government’s commitment to protecting the interests of farmers who have long advocated for the removal of the cultivation ban.
  • Cannabis has been naturally growing in Himachal Pradesh for many years, and proponents of its cultivation highlight the multifaceted utility of hemp, including its potential in phytoremediation, fiber and cloth production, medicinal applications, and its use in the pulp and paper industry.

Concerns with the cultivation of Hemp:

  • A study titled “Dynamics of drug addiction and abuse in northwest India: social, economic, and political implications” revealed that approximately 95% of drug addicts in Himachal Pradesh are primarily using cannabis and its derivatives.
  • Sandeep Bhola, a technical expert and master trainer affiliated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the National AIDS Control Organisation, stated, “Cannabis is known to induce psychiatric symptoms in users, which can be transient, but with prolonged use, they may become persistent.
  • Cannabis use is associated with amotivational syndrome, where users lose interest and motivation to perform daily tasks. Serious psychotic symptoms can also manifest with cannabis use.”
  • It is important to note that it could potentially encourage adolescents and youth to experiment with and misuse cannabis. Although it may help some addicts transition from more harmful drugs to less harmful ones, there is a significant likelihood that it could lead to lifelong addiction.
  • Furthermore, the connection between illicit cannabis producers and suppliers, as well as politicians, is encouraging the consumption of cannabis and its derivatives. It is imperative to combat drug supply and address the socio-cultural, economic, and political influences contributing to this issue.

April 2024
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