Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world with an estimated 125 million people consuming it in some form or the other every year. In India, marijuana use has been historically bound to faith and mysticism. It is said to be a drug that helps the user attain “ecstasy in the original sense of the word”. India has consumed and celebrated charas (hash), bhang and weed for centuries.
However, implementation of stringent narcotic laws in 1986 made the sale, consumption, production and transportation of marijuana illegal in the country. 24 years on, here are 10 reasons why marijuana should now be legalized in India.
1. Marijuana use has medical benefits.
Studies have shown that marijuana use has dozens of medical benefits. It treats glaucoma, prevents cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, reduces anxiety, slows the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, improves metabolism and is even said to spur creativity in our brain. Hmm! Now I think I understand why doctors are against marijuana legalisation..get it!
2. Taxing marijuana will increase government’s revenue.
Imagine the amount of revenue Indian government can generate with marijuana market. Alcohol and tobacco industry legally sells lethal products and earns billions each year. High time they start selling some good stuff.
3. It will eliminate illegal trade.
Come on! Everybody knows that this stuff is easily available and has a huge black market across the country. India has consumed and celebrated charas (hash), bhang and weed for centuries. Legalizing marijuana will only replace the current black market production and distribution with a proper legal system which will obviously be beneficial to our government and the economy.
4. Marijuana addiction is rare.
Researchers found that marijuana has the lowest risk of mortality and is safer than the commonly used alcohol and tobacco as well as the rest of the drugs in the study. 9% might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t when you consider the addiction potential of other popular substances: 15% for alcohol, 17% for cocaine, 23% for heroin and 32% for tobacco.
5. It will create job opportunities.
Production, distribution, retail, transport,etc. just think about the amount of job opportunities it may provide in a country where unemployment is common.
6. It will help the locals.
Marijuana is the only source of income for many locals in states like Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where they grow cannabis plants and Drug dealers force them to sell it at very cheap price. The locals are in a constant pressure from police as they threaten them to burn their cannabis plantation. Legalizing marijuana will let them concentrate on their business and earn a decent living.
7. Good quality will be available.
Legalization will ensure that good quality marijuana is sold to the consumers in India. Dealers often mix hash and weed with chemicals or other drugs like afeem to improve the taste, color, texture or ‘high’ of the stuff. Legalization will improve the quality of marijuana sold to the users because government will regulate the production and sale of the drug.
8. Marijuana is not fatal.
“I’ve heard you have to smoke something like 15,000 joints in 20 minutes to get a toxic amount of delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol,” says Dr. Paul Hornby, a biochemist and human pathologist. “I challenge anybody to do that.” Not only is it virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana, the users face nominal withdrawal symptoms after consuming it.
9. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana.
It is said that 60,000 kgs of hash and 40,000 kgs of opium is produced in Himachal Pradesh. Out of that, only 500 kgs is seized annually. As per reports, “more than 1,600 hectares of cultivable farmland and an additional 500 hectares of illicitly felled public forests are currently under cannabis cultivation”. The rate is only increasing. Moreover, these days, it is pretty easy to buy marijuana in India and its consumption is widespread among the youth. So it is fair to say that prohibition has failed to curb the ‘problem’.
10. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.
Marijuana consumption was never regarded as a socially deviant behaviour any more than drinking alcohol was. In fact, keeping it legal was considered as an ‘enlightened view’. It is now medically proven that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Unlike alcoholics, stoners don’t indulge in rash driving or violent fights. They tend to be clam and pleasant under the influence of marijuana.