Cannabis legalization has ramped up in recent years, and it’s not only in the U.S. Uraguay recently became the first country to fully legalize marijuana, and Canada is set to do the same this July. However, there could be another prominent country with something big in the works when it comes to pot legalization. Yes, India is set to discuss the potential legalization and regulation of both cannabis and opium.
A Progressive Outlook
Member of Parliment, Dharamvir Gandhi, has proposed a private member’s bill that will regulate cannabis and opium and fully legalize medical marijuana throughout India. According to Indiatimes, his bill will be discussed by the Parliment in the upcoming winter session. The proposed bill has already been passed by the legislative branch of the parliament.
Technically, Gandhi’s bill wouldn’t fully legalize the drugs for recreational purposes, but it would decriminalize and regulate both opium and cannabis throughout the country.
India’s incumbent set of laws regarding cannabis are included in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985, which makes possession or usage of any drugs a punishable offense.
Depending on the severity of the crime, drug users currently can face up to 20 years in prison for violating the law, in addition to several fines and penalties. The NDPS Act also allows the government to regulate, control and produce a variety of drugs.
Gandhi argues that 3o years under the legislation of the current bill has not yielded desirable results, and cannabis use remains the same, regardless.
In addition to Gandhi’s call for regulation of recreational cannabis and opium, he believes there should be no restrictions when it comes to medical marijuana
“Marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, especially as it serves a purpose in cancer,” he said to the Press Trust of India.
Final Hit: India Could Legalize Cannabis And Opium
Gandhi, a cardiologist and former member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has been clamoring for cannabis legalization for years now. He’s garnered support from several of his colleagues, including the late actor-turned-politician and former MP Vinod Khanna.
Despite the backing, it could prove to be a long and arduous road for Gandhi and his proposed plan.
For starters, there’s going to be several years of testing before any cannabis-based medications or products become available to the Indian market.
However, many believe Gandhi’s inclusion of opium on the bill could ultimately hinder the legalization of medical marijuana, as many doctors remain divided on the drug. The exact details regarding opium regulation are currently unclear, but it remains a red flag for the bill, nonetheless.
Either way, it still remains a milestone just for the bill to have made it this far.
Gandhi’s proposed plan is the first private member’s bill regarding medical marijuana to be discussed since the NDPS Act was passed back in 1985. Additionally, back in August, the government of India issued its first-ever license to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that will permit the growth and research of cannabis for medical purposes.