Even as India is yet to take a definitive step towards legalising marijuana for medical usage, the growth of medical marijuana world over has been indicative of how a change in perception has come through. In fact, a week back Medical Marijuana Inc, the first ever publicly traded cannabis company in the United States announced a year-over-year growth of 255 % indicating the surge in demand for the product across the country.
Following those numbers, what has also been established is that legal cannabis is arguably the fastest growth industry worldwide, with Forbes predicting sales to touch $1 Billion by 2020! Taking things a step further, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, has promised to legalise recreational marijuana by July 2018. That means it would become the second country in the world after Uruguay to do so.
Of course, we are not debating on recreational marijuana in India. And certainly not making it legal for 18-year olds, like Canada, aims to do. However medical marijuana is something that can certainly be debated. More so considering our very own Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had proposed to legalise it earlier this year.
In a country with high level of drug abuse, Gandhi claimed legalising marijuana could work towards lesser drug abuse. Of course, she was shut down by people citing low literacy levels and dangerous things could get.
Albeit late, good news for supporters of the legalisation is that in August this year India issues a license to grow cannabis strictly for research – a huge step towards what could result in a possible legalisation. The license was granted to Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), which is working in collaboration with a Mumbai-based firm, the Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO). The cannabis will be grown in Jammu and Kashmir! This step came after years of proposals from organisations – local and international – on how this could be the poor man’s answer to expensive cancer drugs. Even arch-rival China has been working on marijuana oil for cancer treatment!
This, however, means supporters can grow these plants on their own. Producing the plant is still covered under a ban and there is unlikely to be any good news there. Irrespective of the citations of how several western countries.
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