Why India should legalize marijuana

Published Apr 6, 2019 09:38 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico

Now that both medical marijuana and recreational products are legal right across Canada, and eight states within the US have introduced cannabis legislation for medicinal purposes, many people are wondering just how long it might take to see the entire world switch to a more lenient stance on the plant. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go before we see the majority of the world gain equal and fair access, but the cultural shift in societal views and values have allowed the cannabis industry to make leaps and bounds over the last three years. One of the last places that you would ever suspect still holds strict anti-marijuana reform despite its rich cultural roots and history using cannabis as both medicine as well as a recreational substance. That place is India, a country full of citizens who frequently use marijuana despite the law.

History of marijuana in India

India has a drink that is called Bhang, AKA cannabis tea, that was originally used as a drink to connect the consumer to a spiritual world but garnered most of its publicity from its use as a sedative and pain medication in cases of injury or illness. The earliest recorded marijuana ingestion took place in 2000 BCE where it was fashioned into necklaces and ground into medicated milkshakes. Since then it has been used as medicine and in places of worship over the course of hundreds of years in India.

How long has cannabis been illegal in India?

The NDPS is when marijuana use officially became prohibited in India with laws specifically stating that no possible physical form of the plant may be used, grown, or consumed in any way. That happened in 1985, but at that time cannabis use had already dropped dramatically thanks to the British who chose to impose a large tax on all marijuana products which priced many people out of the ability to legally maintain the habit.

Why India should introduce marijuana legalization

Though the government of India refuses to acknowledge the chronic use of its citizens citing an incredibly deflated figure of only 3.2% who use cannabis. However, according to the All India Institute of Medical Science, there were well over 7.2 million citizens within the country who had used marijuana at least once throughout the last year. What this means is that most of the people who live there are already using cannabis and would likely benefit greatly from the introduction of marijuana legalization. Even if many of those individuals were only doing so for spiritual reasons as is referred to in the ancient text Dhanvantari.

The Hindu god Shiva is also well known for his preference for marijuana as food for health reasons. This says that chances are the majority of those who are currently living in India are well versed in the benefits of medical marijuana, and most probably even have generational experience on how to safely consume cannabis in various ways that tend to be paired with genetics that may allow for the best experience while using it.

If India doesn’t break down the barriers holding back real marijuana legalization than they will miss out on the chance to get into an already buzzing cannabis market which can be beneficial to the economy and citizens.

Barriers in the way of marijuana legalization in India

What isn’t surprising is that India is already well on its way to establishing its own laws to tax and regulate cannabis products. Much like in Canada or America there are always the front running political parties. The current government in India is set on maintaining the drugs illegal status but two of the upcoming nominees are completely in agreeance with the majority and believe that marijuana should be made legal and accessible to all for their safety, and to keep money that would otherwise be going into drug dealers pockets to boost funding for informational sessions on the safety of consuming marijuana.

Common weed strains from India

Here are five of the most popular weed strains that around found in India alongside their translated names:

1. Meghalaya- Shillong Mango
2. Kerala- Idukki Gold
3. Manipur- Manipuri Weed
4. Himachal Pradesh- Malana Kush
5. Karnataka- Mysore Mango

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