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Legalization Of Marijuana In India: A Thought

Written by: Aadarsh Kumar Shrivastava, Student, Government New Law College Indore MP



Marijuana is a word that we hear since childhood as a source of intoxication which is used by bad class of society. Family has explained the meaning of this word to their children as an abuse, crime and evil. In India, it is considered so insulting that people in the family and society don’t even talk about it freely. We all know that, if our parents come to know that we have ever consumed marijuana in our life, then the response of our parents will be full of anger and harsh satire and this act may hurt their feelings deeply.

Marijuana is a drug or herb; it depends on the person's thinking and the information he has regarding it. Some people consider it just a drug or source of intoxication, some people consider it to be offerings of God Shiva, some people consider it a raw material to make medicine and thus people all over the world have different views.

This article is a thought based upon the need to understand the positive use of marijuana and to make it legal in India.

What is Marijuana (Cannabis)

Very few people in India know that India has a 2,000-year-old relationship with marijuana in Indian history. The history of marijuana dates back to the Atharvaveda[1] where for the first time marijuana is mentioned as one of the five holiest plants on earth. It has been referred to as a source of happiness, which gives a sense of liberation. It was the backbone of the Indian Ayurved and was also known as the penicillin of Ayurvedic medicines.

According to definition of Cannabis as mentioned in Section 3(iii) of THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES, ACT, 1985, cannabis means-

(a) charas, that is, the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish;

(b) ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be known or designated; and

(c) any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink prepared therefrom;

In present context Patanjali Ayurved is working on this subject. Whereas according to Chairman of Patanjali Ayurved Balakrishna Subedi - Marijuana use is currently widespread as a narcotic in India and is not used industrially, resulting in only a few Companies and legislators have sought to get it legally, and if it is legalized can help provide livelihood to farmers.[2]

Indian law for the control of marijuana

According to NDPS Act 1985 in India, consumption and cultivation of marijuana is legal only for fiber and seeds for industrial or horticultural purposes[3]. In addition, consumption, trafficking and cultivation of marijuana for any other purposes is an illegal and punishable offense under Section 27 and 27A of the said act.

Section 20 of NDPS Act 1985- Punishment for contravention in relation to cannabis plant and cannabis.—

Whoever, in contravention of any provision of this Act or any rule or order made or condition of license granted there under,-

(a) cultivates any cannabis plant; or

(b) produces, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-State, exports inter-State or uses cannabis,

shall be punishable- (i) Where such contravention relates to clause (a) with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees

(ii) Where such contravention relates to sub-clause (b)-

(A) and involves small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both;

(B) and involves quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees;

(C) and involves commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Why marijuana is ban in India

There is no solid argument behind prohibiting marijuana, but there is a hypothetical theory. It was in the 1930s when hemp was used extensively in the US to make paper, essential oils, furniture, building materials, clothes, etc and little use has also been made for entertainment. It was so cheap and easy to grow and prepare that corporate industries were no longer competitive and marijuana was a threat to their business. So, with support of media, it was propagated through 'reefer madness hysteria' and campaigned to ban cannabis.[4] There was a formal pressure of USA in India to ban the cannabis and in 1985 during the regime of congress under the leadership of Late. Rajiv Gandhi, India too banned the marijuana due to drug problems and excessive use of such products for intoxication due to the obligations of Single Convention on Narcotics under the US-backed international treaty, which was drafted in 1961.

Marijuana is still banned in India till date for which the second biggest reason is government's revenue. As it is already mentioned that it is one of the most cheap and easy growing substance, government will never earn the revenue as same it get from sale of alcohol and tobacco.

Need to legalize Marijuana

There are so many reasons for legalizing marijuana in India, some of them are explained herein after-

1. Marijuana is an Ayurvedic medicine for rooting many diseases and is beneficial in the following diseases-

· In nervous system diseases

· Provides epilepsy treatment

· Sleep aid

· muscle relaxant

· Appetizer

· Anxiety and pain relievers

· Recovery from chikungunya fever.

As reported by, a patient named Cliff Wint was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2016 with the help of cannabis oil and he purchased cannabis oil with the help of the non-profit Great Legalization Movement.[5]

2. It will increase the revenue of government because it is well known fact that the Marijuana is an illegal trade for billions of rupees throughout India. It is used by many factories, cloth industries, pharmaceuticals and hemp cultivation in India is more than the prescribed limit, which is sold through black marketing all over the world. Nothing goes into the government funds legally but deposited into the personal accounts of bureaucrats. If marijuana becomes legal, then the income generated from its export will increase the government revenue.

3. It is medically proven that marijuana is less harmful intoxication substance compared to alcohol and tobacco. A research has shown that only 9 percent of those who use marijuana are dependent on and addicted to it. The 'comparable rates' for tobacco, alcohol and cocaine are 32 percent, 15 percent and 16 percent respectively.[6]

4. With no positive legislation in India, dealers often mix chemical or other drugs, such as hash and weed, to improve the taste, color, texture of cannabis. So if cannabis becomes legalized, the government will regulate the production and sale of it. This regulation will improve the quality of marijuana sold to the users and will stop sale of such adulterated drugs.

5. In most villages of Himanchal Pradesh, Darjeeling and in some parts of Tamil Nadu the Marijuana is still the only source of income for many locals. After the government ban, farmers are forced to sell it to drug dealers at very cheap prices and they have to face additional pressure from the police and they are helpless as they have to pay the bribe to police officials and other officers to save their farms of cannabis from destruction.

According to article “Why Marijuana in India is banned - A $44 Billion Conspiracy!”- In Himachal Pradesh alone, more than 60,000 kg of illegal production is present of which only 1% gets caught. In 2016, 1,82,622.85 kg of Ganja was seized, whereas only 11,303.78 kg of Ganja was disposed of[7].

So, instead of spending money on arresting criminals and destroying marijuana plantations by declaring it as a drug, why doesn’t the Indian government want to give it legal validity which will stop the black marketing and adulteration of marijuana? This will positively affect in socio-economic development of country as it would be a high revenue source.


In pursuance of the "Single Convention on Drugs" treaty in 1961, cannabis was clubbed with hard drugs and banned its production and supply except for medicinal and research. This was a result of force and pressure of western countries and is still continuing. Should we still wait for another nation's order or pressure to legalize it? Why doesn’t our nation not take its own decision and make it legal. If it becomes legal, then the hemp which is black-marketed and cultivated in an illicit manner, it will stop and the state will start getting a huge amount of revenue. The perception of society will change and people who know it as a bad intoxicated substance or as drugs will know it as raw material used in industry, factory, medical research etc.


[1] Vedic Use of Cannabis by shivaharidas - [2]Interview of Balkrishn subedi with Quartz India [3] Section 14 of NDPS Act 1985 [4] The complete story behind why marijuana was banned in India- [5] A silent movement for the legalisation of cannabis is spreading across India- [6] 10 Reasons Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized In India By surya solanki - [7] Article Why Marijuana in India is banned - A $44 Billion Conspiracy!”-


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