Bill to legalise marijuana to be tabled in Parliament – Harrshit Varma

Marijuana

Dharamvir GandhiThe Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 makes the possession of cannabis a punishable offence. The act can be amended to allow people cheap, regulated and supervised supply of natural intoxicants, and hence fight the dangerous nexus between politicians and criminals. – Harrshit Varma

Dharamvir Gandhi, Member of Parliament (MP) from Patiala, is all set to introduce a private member’s bill in the winter session of Parliament, to be held in December, for the legalisation of marijuana in the country, as reported by Indiatimes. Gandhi is a retired cardiologist and a former member of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Gandhi has been vocal about the issue since long and has called for the decriminalisation of marijuana to fight the drug menace Punjab and the rest of the country. The bill has already been cleared by the legislative branch of the Parliament and will be up for a reading in the Parliament. Gandhi’s bill seeks to distinguish between hard and soft drugs – paving the way for regulation and legalisation of soft drugs like marijuana.

Currently, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 makes the possession and use of drugs a punishable offence. Gandhi hopes that the act can be amended to allow people cheap, regulated and supervised supply of natural intoxicants, and hence fight the dangerous nexus between politicians and criminals.

Gandhi should have the support of several MPs for the bill, including Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi and BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy, who have spoken in favour of legalising medicinal marijuana.

Romesh Bhattacharji, former commissioner of Central Bureau of Narcotics, India’s narcotics watchdog, too has spoken in the favour of this move. Even if the bill does not pass, the fact that the issue—which resonates with the nation’s young population—is being recognised, should be acknowledged as a positive step. Notably the Uttarakhand government has already legalised commercial marijuana cultivation in what can be seen as a glimpse of the times to come. – Swarajya, 22 November 2017

» Harrshit Varma is a staff writer at Swarajya.

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