Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday said the State government was considering legalising the cultivation of cannabis.
“It (cannabis cultivation) would play a significant role in generating revenue for the State. Besides, it would be beneficial to patients as it has many medicinal properties. It can be used for industrial purposes as well,” Mr. Sukhu said in Shimla.
The Chief Minister said the State government was cautious about the potential increase in drug use and had formed a five-member committee of MLAs. “The committee will conduct a thorough study about each and every aspect related to cannabis cultivation in the State. The committee will visit areas where illegal cultivation of cannabis takes place, and submit a report within a month. Only on the basis of the report will the government take a decision,” he said.
Mr. Sukhu said cannabis cultivation had been kept under the legal purview in several States. “Neighbouring Uttarakhand became the first State in the country to legalise cannabis cultivation in 2017. Controlled cultivation is being done in some districts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, controlled cultivation of cannabis has been permitted in several countries such as Uruguay, Canada, the U.S.A., Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic,” he said.
‘Will consider all aspects’
The Chief Minister said the government would consider all aspects, including regulatory measures, and study the models followed by other States that have legalised cannabis cultivation, before taking the final call.
“The Parliament has defined cannabis in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), 1985. Under the law, a complete ban has been imposed on extracting the resin and flowers of the cannabis plant. But this law determines the method and extent of cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. Section 10 (a) (iii) of the Act empowers States to make rules regarding the cultivation of any cannabis plant, production, possession, transport, consumption, use, purchase, sale, and consumption of cannabis (except charas). States are empowered to permit, by general or special order, the cultivation of hemp, only for obtaining fibber or seeds or for horticultural purposes,” Mr. Sukhu said.
“Besides, it would be beneficial to patients as it has many medicinal properties”Sukhvinder Singh SukhuHimachal Pradesh Chief Minister