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Cannabis-Legal or Illegal?

The most common question often asked by common people- What is Cannabis? The answer is quite simple, it is a plant of medical significance. Its properties are wide enough to explain its positive utilization. It is a drug derived from the dries flowering tops, leaves, stems and seeds of the Cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. It is used to treat chronic pain as it soothes the affected area.

Medical Uses of Cannabis

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Cannabis have the following effects:
  • chronic pain in adults
  • nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy treatment
  • some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
It also cures sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, but moderate evidences are present.

Many drugs are manufactured using Cannabis as an ingredient to cure epilepsy, cancer and other life threatening diseases. The usage of the said drug is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Besides its benefits, there are certain major risks also which includes memory loss, gum disease, testicular cancer and many more.

Now, the medical and pharmaceutical usage is already known to us but what about the legality of usage of cannabis/marijuana? The topic is debatable now days.

Legality of Cannabis in India

Some of the countries have decriminalized the usage of cannabis keeping in view, its medicinal properties. But some countries have banned its consumption. Narcotic Drugs and Phychotropic Substances banned the production and sale but did not criminalise the use of leaves and seeds of marijuana. As per the Assam Ganja and Bhang Prohibition Act, 1985 the sale, purchase, possession and use of marijuana, as well as bhang, is illegal in the state.

Under Section 66(1)(b) of the Bombay Prohibition (BP) Act, 1949, the manufacturing, possession and consumption of bhang and bhang-containing substances has been criminalised in Maharashtra. On February 21, 2017, bhang was legalised in Gujarat from the list of "intoxicating drugs".

Section 20 of NDPS Act, 1985 provides the imprisonment for the sale, purchase, consumption and transportation of ganja.

In 1961, India entered into the international treaty of Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which resulted in branding marijuana as ‘hard drug’. Before this convention, it was not illegal.

The cultivation of cannabis for industrial purpose is allowed. The Government of India encourages the research and cultivation of cannabis with low THC content.

This topic took a lead in India, but we must understand the practical and therapeutic usage of cannabis in the treatment of various incurable diseases. Alcohol, tobacco are not banned in India, the why the plant like cannabis should be banned. There is a need to think impartially. The legality of cannabis is still in question.

The recreational use of the said drug is allowed but the laws still varies with different states. In 2019, the Delhi High Court agreed to hear a petition, filed by the Great Legalisation Movement Trust, challenging the ban on cannabis. The public interest litigation argues that grouping cannabis with other chemical drugs under the NDPS Act is "arbitrary, unscientific and unreasonable"

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