Dehra Dun : No Uttarakhand is not going the way of some of the states of the USA or Holland where marijuana has been legalized for smoking. Resident of this small mountain state, except for the Terai and Bhabar regions will now be able to take up cultivation of cannabis purely for industrial purposes as it will have a tetra hydro cannabinol (thc) content of 0.3 to 1.5 percent.
According to officials of the excise department cannabis plants or hemp that have a thc content of 0.3 to 1.5 per cent can be used for industrial purposes. “The normal ranges of thc content in plants that grow wild in Uttarakhand in abundance is four to five per cent and this is which makes it give a high when smoked and is illegal to cultivate”, they added.
Chief minister Harish Rawat said that villagers in the state, barring the Terai and Bhabhar regions will be given permission for the cultivation of hemp plants, with the condition that they will sell the produce only to the state government and not to private parties as they are chances of it being misused for purposes other than industrial.
It may be mentioned here that the fibre produced from the cannabis or hemp plants is not only strong and can take a lot of weight and load, but is now being recognized in the industry internationally for industrial use. There is an increase in international demand for this particular fibre in the industry and presently China is making the major supply.
The chief minister realizing that it could become a money spinner for the villagers of Uttarakhand where there is a dying need for cash crops in the various regions of this small mountain state directed the chief secretary and other senior officers to draw out a plan by which low thc content plants can be cultivated in villages and the produce procured by the state government.
The chief minister said that the Pant Nagar University, a renowned agricultural university of the state and the Vivekanand Research Centre in Almora will be asked to develop cannabis seeds which have a thc of 0.3 to 1.5 per cent, which will then be distributed to the villagers so that the plants that are grown privately have a the within the legal levels.
He said that there is a growing demand for bio fibre and the fibre of the cannabis plants meets the industrial needs. This could transform the rural economy of Uttarakhand, but permission for growing the plants will only be given under the NDPS Act, and it will be strictly ensured that the cultivated cannabis is not used as an intoxicant, he claimed.