The Times of India reports….Yes, you read that right—the Himalayan hill state of Himachal Pradesh is on its way to legalise cultivation of cannabis in the state. The decision is driven by the massive debt of INR 60,500 crores caused by the pandemic. Legalising cannabis cultivation in the state is expected to fetch revenue worth INR 18,000 crores. The development was announced by Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur.
Mr Thakur also clarified that any such cultivation would be in a controlled manner and would strictly be for medicinal, industrial and other such purposes. The decision has been taken after almost two years of mulling over it. Mr Thakur spoke about cannabis cultivation in the budget session, “The Cannabis produced in the state is of high quality and there is potential to undertake its controlled cultivation. Under the NDPS Act, 1985, there are provisions for the cultivation, production, maintenance and transportation of the Cannabis.”
As per the estimates, the decision would lead to an additional 50,000 jobs in the state, and benefit 2.8 lakh families. After India banned the cultivation of cannabis in 1985 in accordance with the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to cultivate it. The NDPS Act allows state governments to legalise cannabis cultivation in a controlled and regulated manner for industrial and horticultural purposes.
Hemp is commonly used in a number of dishes and items such as ropes, mats, footwear, clothes in Himachal, but this would be the first time that the cultivation of cannabis would be undertaken legally. The state is already infamous for Malana Cream, a hash resin that attracts a number of tourists but cannot be sold off legally. Reportedly, it is one of the costliest varieties of hash sold in Amsterdam.
While the state’s new decision will not authorise recreational purposes, it can definitely bring in the much-needed boost to the state that has suffered much in the pandemic.