The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin.
Even after this cannabis continues to be a banned substance in India and talks about legalising it often fails to make any progress.
But things may soon change, at least in Himachal Pradesh, where the state government is planning to introduce a policy where cannabis can be grown legally in the state, for medical purposes.
State would consider
Replying to MLA Ramesh Dhawala in the assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the state government would consider legalising the controlled cultivation of cannabis after studying its various aspects.
Dhawala had urged the government to legalise the cultivation of cannabis, as it has many uses, including in manufacturing medicines, ropes, slippers and hemp fabric and Uttarakhand had already done so.
Thakur said cultivation of cannabis can become a major source of income in Himachal Pradesh, provided proper laws are made for it.
The cannabis produced in Himachal has been found to be of very high quality and therefore there is potential to undertake its controlled cultivation”.
He said under the NDPS Act 1985, there are legal provisions for cultivation, production, maintenance and transportation of cannabis in the state. Under this, the state government can make rules for the cultivation of cannabis in the state.
In 2017, Uttarakhand had become the first Indian state to allow farmers to cultivate hemp plants for industrial purposes.
Madhya Pradesh too does it to a certain extend.
Over the years there have been calls from Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev to former BJP minister Maneka Gandhi to make the cultivation and use of cannabis legal in India.