Authors: Rithik Jain Simran Patil
Several studies have shown that the recreational and medical use of Marijuana has more
advantages to it than disadvantages; however it has not been legalized in many countries
including India. Nonetheless there are several countries that have legalized Marijuana,
Uruguay was the first ever country to legalize Marijuana. In spite of it being an illegal drug it
is widely circulated across India with an estimated 125 million people consuming it in some
form or the other every year. Cannabis and its derivatives are banned in India under Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Marijuana’s use for medical purposes has
exploded in recent years. In this article, we will discuss the legalisation of marijuana and how
it can be beneficial in different ways with suggestions on the regulation of the market.
Keywords: Cannabis, Marijuana, legalisation, NDPS, Drugs, Government.
Marijuana is a greenish grey mixture of sativa, some people smoke Marijuana in hand rolled
cigarettes called joints, in pipes, in bongs, etc. For decades, India has consumed and
celebrated charas (hash), bhang, and cannabis. The dried flowers and subtending leaves of the
plant, as well as the stems of the female Cannabis plant, have been put to various uses by
those who wish to. The most common use among the people is to consume the dried flowers
and subtending leaves of the plant, and the stems of the female Cannabis plant. While
marijuana possession, use, selling, and purchase are now all considered criminal offences in
India, this was not always the case.
The cannabis plant has been used in India for thousands of years, with records dating back to
2000 BCE. The Ancient Vedas of India list and mention the use of different parts of the plant
for a variety of purposes, but not all of them are medicinal. Bhang is mentioned in several
Indian texts dating back to almost 1000 BCE, and is still very common among the general
public. According to some scholars, the Atharvaveda (c. 1500 – 1000 BCE) mentions bhang
as one of the five sacred plants that are considered to relieve anxiety. Several scholars believe
Cannabis Sativa was the plant that was used to make soma, an intoxicating drink that was
highly praised in the Rigaveda during the Vedic Period.
Marijuana was labeled a “billion dollar factory” in the United States in the 1930s due to the
wide range of applications. Especially because it was the polar opposite in terms of cost: it
was low-cost. Almost every country in the world had a similar situation with the farm. It was
only natural that the rapidly expanding hemp industry would pose a significant threat to the
liquor, tobacco, and timber industries, which had been falling behind since hemp had taken
India had long fought the pressure from the United States to make marijuana illegal in the
country. The year was 1961. Since the beginning of 1961, the United States has been
advocating for a global law that would make all drugs, hard and soft, illegal. India only
resisted this pressure for a short time because it had a long history of consuming plant parts
and therefore the higher-ups were opposed to such a big move. In 1985, India passed the
Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, essentially criminalising the use of
cannabis’ fruit and flower but not its leaves.
Current Legal Status of Marijuana in India
Marijuana has been described under Section 2(iii) of the NDPS Act, as:
(a) charas, that is, the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified,
obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin
known as hashish oil or liquid hashish;
(b) ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the
seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be
known or designated; and
(c) any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of
cannabis or any drink prepared therefrom;
‘Bhang’, which is also made from the same cannabis plant, has not been described in the act
but in the landmark case of Arjun Singh vs State of Maharashtra, the Punjab and Haryana
High Court stated that Bhang does not fall within the definition of cannabis (hemp) as
defined under Section 2(iii) of NDPS Act but it does fall within the definition of cannabis
plant and as such its cultivation is punishable under section 20(a) read with section 20 (b) of
the act and therefore, it was not illegal to consume cannabis leaves but production of a plant
was considered illegal in the case.
Benefits of Legalising of Marijuana
Marijuana is a soft drug and also one of the most consumed illegal drug in the world. And
keeping in mind all these uses of Marijuana and the following mentioned below, it is my firm
opinion that India should legalise marijuana.
Prohibition on Unauthorised Business of Marijuana and Related Crimes
The decriminalization of Marijuana will hinder the black marketing and illegal
distribution of the drug. By legalising the trading of marijuana there can be few
authorised market players like the government, farmers, merchants, etc. instead of
criminals or any random self-authorised vendor who sells from actual weed to grass to
any other chemically mixed replica of the substance as per availability which will
lower the crime rate, increase government revenue and improve the quantity of the
same in the country.
Job Opportunities which will boost Economy
India has a struggling economy with an extremely high unemployment rate; in such a
situation legalizing marijuana will not only generate employment but will also prove
beneficial for the Government.
Source of Revenue Generation for the Government
By regulating marijuana, government can tax it just like the liquor market which has
proved to be a major revenue generating sector. In states like Himachal Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu’s economies marijuana’s production can play very important role for
generating revenues but due to the ban on the substance, the farmers cultivating them
have to sell their stock at very low prices to illegal traders and find different ways
around the law to trade further. Legalizing marijuana will not only solve the farmer’s
problem but the reasonable taxation will also help these states to generate revenues
Medical benefits of Marijuana
Many different studies have shown that, Marijuana can be very beneficial in treating
various diseases. In ancient times, saints who were known as “Vedd” used Marijuana
as a medicinal herb to cure various diseases and injuries. In today’s world, various
medical practitioners prescribe Marijuana to cancer patients while they undergo
chemotherapy. Many researchers from UK, have suggested that cancer cells of
leukemia patients are likely to be killed, with the help of Marijuana. Marijuana has
also proven beneficial in curing AIDS and it has also shown impactful results to
people struggling with mental health by reducing anxiety and spurring the brain
towards creative directions.
Quality of Marijuana
The illegal trading of marijuana also impacts the quality of the herb. Many
unauthorized sellers of marijuana mix hash or weed with chemical substances,
tobacco, seeds and leaves of other plants, etc. to give taste, colour or form to the stuff.
This kind of adulterated mixture, lower’s the quality of marijuana and thus, cannot be
used for the medical purposes. Such low quality of marijuana can also cause body
problems such as headache, metabolism problems, etc. to those who consume it on
daily basis legally/illegally without any medical purpose. Thus, this legalization can
ensure the supply of good quality of marijuana in the market as the government will
be able to regulate its production and sale.
Addiction of Marijuana:
Marijuana as mentioned above is considered a soft drug which is why it is ranked as
one of the least addictive drugs as compared to other drugs like tobacco, alcohol,
cocaine, etc. Studies conducted at international levels show that, only 9% people out
of the whole marijuana consuming population have chances to be addictive of it. One
study of National Institute of Drug Abuse had ranked Weed as least addictive drug. It
is through these studies, I can identify that the legalisation of marijuana cannot be
described as gateway to hard drugs.
If the government in the coming years legalise, the use of marijuana for recreational
purposes, then, the bigger picture will raise the questions on regulating the marijuana market.
Therefore, I want to list down some suggestions through which government can regulate the
Indian government can fix the quantity of marijuana that one may possess. Countries
like Canada, which was the first country to legalise marijuana for recreational
purposes has made possessing more than 30 gram of marijuana, punishable. So, by
fixing the quantity of marijuana that one can possess shall aid the government to
regulate the market.
The government can open licensed shops to sell the drug. The licensing of the shops
will help government to regulate the market more effectively and licensing is one of
the many sources of government revenue too.
Black marketing and illegal trading should be penalised for better regulation of the
The legal price of marijuana should not be kept too high or too low. Government
needs to determine the perfect legal price of marijuana in the market because a price
too high will not help in prohibiting illegal trade of marijuana and a price too low can
lead to marijuana addicted population and drug abuse. So, the government should fix
the price accordingly.
Like age restrictions on consumption of alcohol, the government should also fix the
legal age for the consumption of marijuana. Consumption below which shall be a
The government can use the tax revenues generated from marijuana market, to
educate people about drug treatment programmes. Educating people about the proper
usage of marijuana will help them in not getting addicted to it.
After doing this research, I can easily conclude that, there are several benefits of marijuana, if
done in controlled manner. The population of those different states where marijuana is
legalised consumed less painkillers, as compared to those where consumption of marijuana is
illegal. Also, marijuana has been the least destructive drug, in comparison to other drugs such
as LSD, cocaine, heroin, etc. If we compare the after effects of marijuana and alcohol
consumption, then alcohol makes an individual more aggressive, which can result in physical
or mental abuse, violence, heinous crimes, etc. whereas, an individual consuming marijuana
will respond more calmly and relaxingly. The legalisation of marijuana will not only help at
individual level but will also result in the growth of GDP of the country, which will prove
beneficial for country’s economy. If we talk about the current marijuana laws under NDPS
Act, then our research finds them very complex and confusing at some level. Ganja, charas
or any other form of marijuana is considered illegal but bhang is considered legal. It’s like
cigarette is illegal but biddi is legal.
The government and other officials have turned a blind eye towards the illegal trade and
unlawful use of marijuana in the country, which has resulted in unauthorised dealers selling it
to adults and even teenagers. And if for a change they caught by the police officials, then
these dealers bribe them and continue with their illegal business. So, the criminalisation of
marijuana is not only affecting at economical level, but also at social and political level,
giving rise to the corruption in the country. To conclude, we can only say that legalising
consumption of marijuana only has its pros and hardly any cons.