Legalize Marijuana in India, in Himachal

“Babu Ji maal khatm hai” informed a small time shop owner on the outskirts of Shimla when asked about the availability of Marijuana (Charas), when I chanced to be around.

There was a sense of distress on face of the seeker who appeared to be desperately banking on the last available option. For me it was quite unnerving to learn about an effortless accessibility of banned Marijuana in the capital city.

Not being able to find the much needed joint to get a dope fix, the desperate seek started boasting about his contacts with Marijuana dealers in the state and his access to Malana cream famously known as “Champagne of Hashish” or “Instant Nirvana” just on a dial of phone number.

Though, Kullu is already known to an “Abode of Cannabis Lovers” but Marijuana, of late, is finding its way into the blood of entire Himachal Pradesh.

“What do you think why Americans, Israeli’s, Briton’s, and God knows who else visit Himachal. It is all for Malana cream” clued us up one of the dealers who had arrived on the spot within ten minutes of calling him on phone —- much faster than a pizza boy.

Although, Parbati Valley, the decipherable “Gateway to Heaven” is still considered to be at the forefront of illegal Marijuana cultivation but Marijuana farms are said to be mushrooming (in hiding) almost everywhere in the state. Its production is mainly carried out in Kullu, Mandi, Chamba, Kangra, Shimla and Sirmour districts.

Until 1985, cultivation of opium didn’t find any legal impediments and the trade flourished unchecked in almost all parts of the state especially in Kullu valley.

However, once the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) law was enacted and came into force, the entire dynamics changed. At present, cultivation, possession or retailing without a license are termed unlawful and entails imprisonment.

Due to state’s challenging topography very little employment opportunities are present for the locals and status quo is maintained even after more than 40 years of achieving statehood.

Residents in far flung villages are forced to farm and trade Marijuana for their livelihood. Despite seizures of contrabands and arrests of people including foreigners, the prohibited trade is not ready to die down any time soon.

Malana cream, in particular is regarded as one of the most expensive products worldwide for its high oil content. On an average, 10 grams (premium variety) that is sold for around (Rs 800 – Rs 1000) in Malana commands Rs 2300 – Rs 2500 in Delhi and almost 20 times in Amsterdam.

Himachal finds itself incongruously placed. The state knows well that the dilution of the Section 20 of the serving NDPS law of 1985 will surely suit its tourism based economy but fear brickbats from the so called civilized society.

Marijuana holds an imminent place in our ancient culture. Associted to with Lord Shiva, it finds liberal use especially during festivals such as Shivaratri and Holi clearly under the nose of administration.

Although, many prominent politicians namely Kullu MP Maheshwar Singh have openly voiced their opinion in favor of legalizing Marijuana in the past but to no avail.

Even the current Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh is of the similar view and in one of his interviews in a documentary by Amlan Dutta —–  BOM alias One day ahead of Democracy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXQpatqjBk8  advocated the cause.

Those who argue that legalization of Marijuana can be en route for huge health loss to the youth must realize that many years of Marijuana ban hasn’t led to very good results either. In fact, a parallel black economy has only flourished.

By keeping Marijuana prohibited we have only allowed bunch of criminals to make a lot of money of late. It is almost unfeasible to implement legislation without taking into account the existing socio-economic and cultural realities.

Marijuana definitely has the potential in adding to the state’s exchequer (as tax money) and substitute apple as the major cash crop.

Legalization of Marijuana would make the state and the country more progressive, reduce spends of the narcotic agencies and create livelihood for unemployed “Paharis” in the state.

A mechanical engineering graduate with a post graduation in marketing and sales, Ashish has combined professional experience of more than 4 years. Ashish is a great fan of Martin Scorsese. He loves to write poetry in his spare time. He lives in Shimla.

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6 Comments

  1. says: Bharat

    I believe marijuana grows in almost any environment except desert, therefore it has the making of the largest cash crop in the nation.

    Legalizing and regulating cultivation and use of marijuana will bring largest cash crop under the rule of law, which will create more jobs and other economic opportunities formally in the nation’s (state) economy instead of the illicit market we have become accustomed to.

  2. says: McD

    Actually, precisely because any idiot can grow it anywhere, there’s no money to be made from cannabis, because as soon as the artificially high price created by prohibition changes to reflect its production cost and consequent real market value it will cost no more than pennies a kilo.

  3. says: waltinseattle

    why should a gift of the creator be anything but free for any who would plant it and tend it! i remember those india certified hash cakes fondly. Krishna and Christ…who can object their practices?

  4. says: etand

    I agree with McD. It’s an illusion just like the hallucinations.

    In 2 years staying with Indian in villages and towns, never seen them smoke marijuana or offer me to. Tourists, however, were deeply engaged with it.

    Where tourist arrive in masses for ‘smoking yourself 24/7’ vacations, many locals too became daily smokers, but if you take a random bus beyond the big cities, you have a chance of only 1:10,000 to end up in such a destination.

    And here’s the rest of my experience about that: http://jpgmag.com/stories/19402

    India is one place people can actually understand something about real life rather then sink into virtual realities… yet so many foreigners fly thousands of miles to reach and then stop 50 miles short of leaving the comfort zone (western toilets, hotels, food, drugs etc…) and knowing the difference.

  5. says: GanjaIndia

    Some of pro-legalization are gathering in their very own Indian Marijuana Community Forum www dot HIGHisCOOL dot net
    It will also be a great help for them if this blog will show this comment because this will attract more people will join them.

  6. says: Siddharth

    Marijuana will never loose its value. The farmers have so many options because the hemp can still produce 5000 products. And it’s still a penny per kilo for those who have already started growing this plant and if government will take action on it this will become major criminal substance.

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