After Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh can be the next Indian state to legalize cultivation of marijuana. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday said that the state could very well considered legalising weed but only after ensuring legality of the same.
According to a report in The Tribune, Thakur said the demand for legalizing cultivation of marijuana has been growing in the state. The spur in demand could be attributed to the legalizing of hemp cultivation in the neighboring state of Uttarakhand. with Himachali areas in the Kullu district including Sainj and Malana becoming famous across the world for it's high grade and high-potency cannabis strains, many in the government feel that legalizing the cultivation can help boost the economy of local cultivators.
The move is being supported by both BJP and Congress leaders in the area.
Despite being banned since the colonial era, marijuana is part of Indian culture of a ritualistic intoxicant or in the form of hemp. Documented use of the plant-based intoxicant can be traced back to the Vedic era. Thus it is no surprise that the country may slowly be waking up to the pharmaceutic abilities of the plant as well its ability to produce materials like hemp. In April 2017, the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a licence Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR – IIIM) along with cannabis startup Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO) to grow marijuana.
Himachal Pradesh legalising the cultivation of marijuana could mean a new chapter for Indian states and cultivators. However, rampant misuse by locals and tourists and illegal cultivation need to be checked before any such move is implemented.