Cannabis News, India, Legalisation

Cannabis legalization in Himachal? What’s the story?

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Recently a committee was formed by the Himachal government to explore the aspect of legalization in Himachal Pradesh

For quite some time Himachal government has been probing the possibility of cannabis legalization in the state. The Himachal Pradesh government has constituted a panel of legislators to study the various aspects of legalising hemp cultivation and submit a report in this regard to the chief minister within a month. The decision to constitute the committee was taken after a discussion on a resolution brought by BJP MLA Purna Chand Thakur to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes.

In his 2021 budget speech, then Himachal CM Jairam Thakur had proposed the legalisation of hemp cultivation for select purposes. “Cannabis produced in the state is of high quality and there is potential to undertake its controlled cultivation. Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, there are provisions for the cultivation, production, maintenance and transportation of cannabis,” he had said.

Members of the committee

Headed by revenue minister Jagat Singh Negi, the panel has members comprising  Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sundar Thakur, MLAs Purna Thakur, Hans Raj, and Janak Raj(medical expert) as its members. Besides Negi, the panel will comprise Kullu MLA Sundar Singh Thakur, legislators Surender Shourie, Janak Raj and Puran Chand Thakur.

What will the panel discuss?

Panel discussion will be around use, misuse and various other aspects surronding legalization and medicinal value of cannabis.

The panel of legislators will be formed to explore the various aspects of cannabis and will be headed by revenue minister Jagat Singh Negi.

“The committee will visit areas where cannabis could be grown. It will study all the aspects and submit a report within one month,” Sukhu told the Vidhan Sabha Friday. He added that the state would enact a law after studying the panel’s report and that the panel would also look into the social and scientific repercussions of hemp cultivation.

Views of the committee members

Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi said that there is a misconception that cannabis can be used as a drug only. “Now there are techniques to grow it on a large scale that can reduce the narcotic value material and can use its medicinal value to cure diseases like cancer, etc. It can be used for industrial use for raw cannabis. The five members committee will do a detailed study and will submit a report to the government,” added Negi who will be heading the committee.

“There are numerous ways to make it legal, the opium cultivation is also allowed by the government of India in many states. We shall explore all possibilities that will help to strengthen the economy of the state,” Negi further added.

Janak Raj BJP MLA, the medical expert member of the newly formed committee said that the medical use of cannibals will not only help to curb the drug menace and also to provide employment to the youth by strengthening the economy of the state.

Sundar Singh Thakur, the MLA from Kullu who is also chief parliamentary secretary, said legalising cannabis cultivation would generate revenue and create jobs for locals. “Uttarakhand has legalised cannabis cultivation. Haryana and J&K are other states that have such a policy.”

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Other states that have already legalized cannabis

Uttarakhand became the first state to legalize cannabis for industrial use in 2017. Besides Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have received approval from Central government for cultivation.

In view of demand from residents, the state had also drafted an approach paper listing modalities to permit the “industrial and medicinal” use of cannabis. A state government official, requesting anonymity, said the previous government had estimated that controlled cultivation could yield an additional annual revenue of Rs 18,000 crore.

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