Other States

Cannabis high for Manipur’s start-up dream

Cannabis is often grown in extremistcontrolled areas.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

Cannabis legalised for medicinal and industrial use may give Manipur’s start-up dream a high.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government, headed by Chief Minister Nongthom-bam Biren Singh, has been hard-selling its ‘Start-up Manipur’ campaign since August 2018. Round two of the campaign began on September 20.

On Sunday, Mr. Singh told The Hindu from Imphal that his government was planning to legalise cannabis, or marijuana, to enable units of companies using it as an ingredient for medicines or for other industrial purposes to open.

Start-ups would also be considered. “But such companies have to be capable,” he said.

Mr. Singh said he had taken his cue from States such as Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand that have legalised cultivation and harvest of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

“Oil extracted from cannabis is known to be useful in strengthening nerves and treating people suffering from paralysis. Also, legalising cannabis can boost the economy,” he said.

After the first round of ‘Start-up Manipur’, the State government reportedly identified 334 entrepreneurs for financial assistance. Of them, 29 were seen to have high potential.

‘Best weed’

Cannabis competes with opium across large swathes of land in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. Drug enforcement officials say the cannabis grown in remote areas of Manipur is considered the “best weed” across the country.

Agencies such as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) destroy poppy cultivation but have a tough time checking cannabis grown on a large scale in interior areas. Moreover, many cannabis plantations are in areas controlled by extremist groups.

Surveys by the NCB and some private agencies say much of the marijuana in Manipur has been cultivated for at least four decades in Churachandpur, Senapati and Ukhrul districts.

Manipur is on the edge of the Golden Triangle of drug trade, comprising Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 11:00:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cannabis-high-for-manipurs-start-up-dream/article29484057.ece

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