Madhya Pradesh government led by Congress recently announced its decision to permit the cultivation of cannabis in the state. The state government has made a move when there is no proper clarity from the Central government regarding whether to legalise the cultivation of cannabis.
As per the state legal affairs minister PC Sharma, the cultivation of cannabis will be legalised in the state, but it can’t be used for commercial purpose. Cultivated cannabis can only be used for industrial or medicinal purposes alone, making it clear that the cultivated hemp will not be used for consumption or trading.
As per the reports, PC Sharma stated in Bhopal that Chief Minister Kamal Nath-led government would permit the cultivation of hemp – a type of marijuana – which will be used for medical purposes like in the treatment of cancer other terminal ailments. He added that farmers could only sell the cannabis to government and not to any private buyers.
The minister expressed hope that this step would help in thriving businesses in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Furthermore, he stated that this agriculture project of growing cannabis would require international help.
Back in 2017, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to legalise the cultivation of cannabis, albeit for medicinal and industrial purposes only. Following that, Himachal Pradesh also considered doing the same. In the same year, Maneka Gandhi had proposed that marijuana should be legalised in India, as she believed that such a move would help in bringing down drug abuse, stating experiences of other countries where medical marijuana is legal. Like in other states, farmers will have to get a licence by the excise department to grow cannabis.
This move in Madhya Pradesh has reportedly been met with mixed responses from opposition parties. BJP leader Rameshwar Sharma has said that this could have unfavourable consequences as more people could surrender to addiction and that the state would eventually move in the same path as that of Punjab.
Hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 0.3 to 1.5 per cent can be used for industrial purposes like in the manufacturing of fibre.
Legalising marijuana has been a subject of continually debated in India since long. People who support the legalisation argue that the plant can be used in several medicines, including for the treatment of cancer. Moreover, they believe that legalising the cultivation will bring some much needed financial support to the farmers.
We will have to wait and see how this step will have an impact on the state of Madhya Pradesh; will it be a boon or bane.