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'Make the most of the Indian-Hemp Seed and Sow it everywhere' - George Washington

WHAT IS MARIJUANA?

'Cannabis' the most controversial plant, popularly known as Marijuana also called Indian-Hemp, Ganjika, Vijaya, Siddhi, Kinnab and Hemp. There is a huge misconception, hemp not being a part of the cannabis family. Whereas hemp and marijuana both are extracts of the genus Cannabis only. Cannabis can be classified into Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis as per botany. Furthermore, Cannabis plants can be classified based on gender. Male varieties of Cannabis produce the pollens which are required to pollinate the female plant. While the female Cannabis produces compounds that are potent psycho-active enhancers and also produces edible and nutritious seeds.

Cannabis was described as 'one of the sacred plants' in the ancient 'Vedas' by religious scholars. The Cannabis could be considered as the most useful crop for Agro-Industry, as several parts of the plant can be utilized to extricate essential raw products. A plant which is grown by sowing a seed harvested into a fully mature plant producing highest biomass per acre, highest amount of cellulose, strongest fibres, most nutritious seeds, most medicinal flowers in just 120 days.

Over 450 compounds are found in the cannabis flower, 120 out of them are cannabinoids with known medical benefits. 8 compounds extracted from Cannabis are extensively researched around the globe. The most significant compound present in Cannabis plant is 'Cannabinoids' which could change the healthcare setup in India.

The most worldwide researched Cannabinoids present in Cannabis plant are:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabiniol (THC).

Legality of Cannabis plant in India

In 1985, Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, introduced the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which ensured complete prohibition on sale, purchase and cultivation of narcotics in India. All Narcotic and psychotropic substances in India are illegal since then. Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985, trade, consumption and cultivation of both Cannabis & Cannabis-Hemp, are illegal in India EXCEPT Cannabis infused beverage 'Bhang'. The only narcotic substance extracted from the genus Cannabis viz 'Bhaang'. This beverage can be procured from official vendors.

The controversial cannabis plant is misunderstood legally and industrially in India. However, to curb poverty, migration, etc. certain powers are granted to the state government to cultivate and produce Cannabis-Hemp under certain circumstances. In 2018, Uttrakhand became the first state in India to allow commercial cultivation of Cannabis-Hemp crop. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & Manipur have also decided to legalize Hemp Cultivation to benefit Agro Industries.

THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES, ACT, 1985

Section 20 - Punishment for contravention in relation to cannabis plant and cannabis

Whoever cultivates any Cannabis plant produces, manufactures, posseses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-state, ecports inter-state, or uses cannabis shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Section 25- Punishment for allowing premises, etc., to be used for commission of an offence.

Whoever, being the owner of the immovable property, knowingly permits it to be used for the commission by any other person of an offence punishable under any provision of this Act, shall be punished with the punishment provided for that offence.

Section 27- Punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance

Whoever consumes any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

TYPES OF CANNABIS

INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS-HEMP

Hemp is a variety of Cannabis plant and could be grown as an industrial crop to produce essential products like textile, biofuel, food etc without degrading environment substituting chemical industries functioning at present.

NATURAL INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS-HEMP

Industrial Cannabis-Hemp is a variety of Cannabis that is mainly grown to extract fibres, seeds, stalk, etc to supply raw material to make many bio-products. Industrial Hemp is cultivated dense and tall in order to yield maximum production.

HYBRID INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS-HEMP

Hybrid Industrial Cannabis-Hemp is that variety which produces an extremely low amount of THC, as defined by international standards which are aiming to limit Cannabis-Hemp varieties to produce less than 0.3% THC in flowers. The Hybrid Industrial Hemp crop is cultivated by the help of seeds created in labs.

MEDICAL CANNABIS

Medical Cannabis is mainly used to grow flowers which produce 'cannabinoids' to extract medicinal compounds from the plant. According to the limited clinical research, it is evident that Medical Cannabis can reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improves appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, reduces chronic pain and muscle spasms and treats severe forms of epilepsy. In short, Medical Cannabis can substitute harmful chemicals exploited by the pharmaceutical Industry.

The many uses of Cannabis Plant

Cannabis Plant could become a million dollar crop as it has various perquisites. Every part of the Cannabis-Hemp plant can be used to procure more profits for farmers and manufacturers. Cannabis-Hemp could become the standard fibre of India. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the wood "hurdes" remaining after the fibre has been removed contains more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to cellophane, Fish nets, bow strings, canvas, strong rope, overalls, damask tablecloths, fine linen garments, towels, bed linen and thousands of other everyday items that can be grown in India.

Seeds:

   

Foods

Body Care

Industrial Products

  • Hemp Seed oil
  • Hemp Protein Powder
  • Food Supplements
  • Food ingredients
  • Cosmetics
  • Soaps
  • Shampoos
  • Lotions
  • Balms
  • Oil Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Printing inks
  • Fuel
  • Solvents
  • Coatings

Stalk:

   

Textiles

Industrial Textiles

Building Material

Paper

  • Clothing
  • Handbags
  • Denim
  • Shoes
  • Fine Fabric
  • Rope
  • Canvas
  • Tarps
  • Carpeting
  • Netting
  • Caulking
  • Moulded parts
  • Fibreboard
  • Bricks
  • Insulation
  • Acrylics
  • Fibreglass Substitute
  • Printing
  • Newsprint
  • Cardboard
  • Packaging

Flower:

Medicinal Benefits:

Studies have shown that marijuana use has dozens of medical benefits. Medicines produced from Cannabis 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. Diseases that ought to be cured by this medicine;- cancer, HIV, TB, Cardio Vascular Disease, Muscular Disorders, Mental Disorders, Metabolic Disorders, Skin Disorders, Pain, infection, Anti Stress, etc. Specialized medical extracts called RSO are present in the flower of the Cannabis plant.

Roots:

  • Organic compost and nutrients
  • Remedy for conditions such as arthritis or joint pain, fibromyalgia and eczema

SHOULD WE LEGALIZE CANNABIS?

The question is why not? This plant has the potential to re-invent the entire way of human living through its readily available nutrition, medical cures and 100% eco friendly. Cannabis can lead to Bio-Product industrialization that can have a significant impact on our entire environment and Ecology. Cannabis as a crop is the greatest hope for humanity to undo the substantial loss.

10 states in the US have already legalized it, while as many as 33 have approved it for medical purposes. In 2018, Canada became the second country in the world that legalized cannabis for recreational use. Even Latin American Countries like Peru, Venezuela, Chile, and Columbia have legalized it for medical use or decriminalized cannabis for personal use to some degree.

Impact on the Economy

Impact of Large-Scale Cultivation of Cannabis & Cannabis-Hemp

Nuclear Radiation Cleanup

Hemp has proven to be a beneficial plant and scientists have found that it can help to clean-up polluted areas that have been affected by radiation. Scientists have already studied the effect of Cannabis on Radio Active soil. Accordingly, Radiation cleanup can be implemented by growing cannabis on the radiated soil. Scientists even used hemp to clean-up areas around the Chernobyl disaster and Fukushima disaster.

Impact on the Environment

Cultivation of Cannabis can impact the environment drastically. Cultivation of Industrial Hemp can end deforestation as Hemp can produce Furniture, Papers, Energy Sources, Fuels, Plastics, Textiles, Construction Bricks, Cosmetics, etc. It can be the fastest way to reverse greenhouse effect naturally. Several Bio-products can be extracted from this pant.

One of the greatest technological inventions of the 20th century was Henry Ford's Model, a car was constructed by him which completely ran on bio-ethanol made from the stalks of cannabis-hemp, the plant was prohibited before he could finish his research.

Impact on Agriculture

Cannabis can be considered as a multibillion crop to the farmers. It can be a highly valued agriculture commodity for millions of farmers committing suicide every day. The plant when cultivated at close proximity grows taller producing lesser branches, lengthy stalks, longer fibres and lesser psychoactive compounds. The toxic agriculture development can be brought to an end. Farmers can become the source for a trillion dollar industry producing essential products. Over 89% of the rural population can thrive from this stable crop. Any plant grown for fibers is known as hemp and this variant of Cannabis is known as Cannabis-Hemp.

Impact on Use of Cannabis & Cannabis-Hemp

Impact on Healthcare

The earliest known medical benefits of cannabis in India are listed in 3500 year old Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia dating back to 1500BC. The studies revealed that cannabis oil and its impact on relaxing the muscles and nerves benefiting people suffering from different types of diseases. Natural medications can be prepared which are affordable and much safer. The poisoning led by the pharmaceutical industries can be brought to an end. Allopathic medicines have failed to heal certain diseases which can be substituted by cannabis. Cannabis is one of the only medicinal plants which works on all the 12 biological systems of the human body.

The medicinal compounds found in the Cannabis flower can bring the body to a homeostasis state through the activation of the Endo-Cannabinoid System. Stress is the root cause of much illness that can be prevented if ECS is active. ECS can be active only when the person is not stressed.

Impact on Consciousness

It is written in Vedas, that cannabis is that plant which is originated in India. In Ayurveda Cannabis is considered to be the most important compound to form medicines. People suffering from stress, anxiety and depression are often prescribed Anti-Depressants, etc by the doctors which contain harmful chemicals. However, Cannabis is that plant which produces safe relaxants and stimulants naturally. The sad part is Cannabis is termed as a Narcotic Substance under NDPS Act.

One Solution to Infinite Problems

  1. The use of plastic can be purely substituted with the help of this plant. Cannabis-Hemp bioplastics requires no mining, no chemicals for processing; no energy intensive methods for production while also ensuring bio-degrability and are 100% safe for human health.
  2. Thousands of cancer victims are suffering from abusive, expensive, inefficient and highly lethal experiments by oncologists and cancer hospitals across India.
  3. Millions of acres of stalks are being burnt across India after the grains are harvested resulting in Air pollution.
  4. We can forbid nature by substituting products obtained from tree, as tree matures in 50-100 years whilst hemp mature in as little as 100 days.
  5. Exponential Growth to the Indian Economy. For ex- An acre of cannabis-hemp produces roughly 500 kgs of seeds within 4 months that can be extensively valuable.
  6. The use of cannabis to create buildings and homes with a negative carbon footprint can also help to lower energy cost throughout the year with improved thermal performance compared to standard brick and concrete.
  7. Industries manufacturing paper and even building materials infuse toxic chemicals to produce the final product. A single acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper a year as four acres of trees
  8. The WHO confirmed that consumption of cannabis is safer than alcohol, tobacco and is not even comparable to cocaine, opium, heroin or any other harsher substances.
  9. Graphene could be economically extracted from carbon structure within its cellulose making it extremely cheap. Graphene has many applications in electronics, solar panels, materials, energy storage, etc.
  10. Deforestation can be prevented majorly across India as Cannabis is a substitute for more than 27 products we use in our daily lives.
  11. Billions of People who drink tea are supporting an industry that is using so many chemicals to control pests in the plantations killing the entire soil ecosystem. However, switching towards cannabis-hemp flowers and leaves produce superior tea which is more medicinal and fragrant and doesn't require any chemicals to grow and produce.
  12. 1 acre of cannabis-hemp absorbs over 5 tons of carbon from the atmosphere effectively making it the most natural way of reversing the greenhouse effect.
  13. Cotton being the largest chemical consuming crop on the planet Earth can be replaced by Hemp fibre. Over 7.75 billion people who are using cotton-based textiles are unknowingly consuming a product which is poisoning the soil and water resources; especially in the developing nations where it is heavily produced.
  14. A farmer in India can earn up to 2 lakh rupees per acre in just 4 months producing hemp and distributing it to industries.
  15. Cannabis cultivation and use can create infinite job opportunities.

Interesting Facts:

  • The Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) have taken legal license to cultivate cannabis for scientific and medical research purposes to develop medicines for epilepsy and cancer treatment.
  • Under a tripartite agreement, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Department of Biotechnology have agreed to develop the epilepsy and cancer treatment products. The CSIR will carry out clinical work on the cultivated Cannabis. The ICMR will then administer the clinical trials at the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai and AIIMS in Delhi.
  • In February 2020, the IIIM and CSIR entered into a cross-border agreement with the Canada-based cannabis research company IndusCann. Union minister Jitendra Singh described the agreement as a “historic” achievement, and that Jammu and Kashmir will be the first in the country to develop medicines from the cannabis plant.
  • According to our ancient Vedas cannabis is one, amongst the 5 most important plants to originate in the Indian subcontinent. Such a holy and sacred herb which had been used in our country for over 3500 years faced a national shame and prohibition in 1995 due to western influences.
  • In 1985, India outlawed cannabis-hemp by listing it under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.
  • Several research and studies have classified Cannabis safe, including AIIMS.
  • During the 2nd World War, the American government created a video to encourage farmers to grow cannabis-hemp so that the military can use its strong fibres to make highly durable parachutes
  • Colorado became the first state in the world to record a billion dollar worth of sales in cannabis for medical and personal consumption in 2018

TRIAL RELATED TO CANNABIS IN INDIA

Great Legalization Moment India Trust v/s Union of India & Ors.

On July 12th 2019 a writ Petition filed by a nonprofit organization viz. Great Legalization Moment India Trust seeking decriminalization of cannabis under the NDPS Act, challenging the constitutional validity to legalize cannabis for its ability to be a miraculous plant with thousands of uses.

On November 7, 2019, the Delhi high court issued a notice to the government seeking its stand on a petition filed by the Great Legalization Movement India Trust to decriminalize the use of cannabis.

GLM pleaded -

  1. Medicating the Citizens
  2. Liberating Society on Cannabis
  3. Protection and rejuvenation of the environment, the ecology and the entire ecosystem.
  4. Creating safer, affordable and effective medications for the people.
  5. Empowerment of millions of farmers.
  6. The economic prosperity of the nation.
  7. Bioproduct transformation for mass consumption
  8. Freedom and liberty for the spiritual seekers across the nation

Public Interest Litigation

Delhi High Court has dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by a law student seeking a direction to the Central Government to allow the medical use of cannabis and its allied products. The Petitioner contended before the court that cannabis had been wrongfully clubbed with other chemical drugs under the stringent Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. Urging the court to intervene, he argued that marijuana was an agricultural commodity used in various products such as food and beverages, cosmetics and personal-care products.

In the PIL, the petitioner also submitted that cannabis had been legalized in several countries for medical and recreational purposes and suggested that the Central Government should have undertaken research and enacted appropriate legislation to keep up with changing medical trends across the world.

The court, while dismissing the petition, also imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the said that legalization of cannabis for medical purposes could only be done by the Central Government, by either bringing a new enactment or amending the present law.

Conclusion

Do we have certain rights to protect our environment?
Do we have our right to medicine?
Shouldn't the doctors have the right to treat people using this plant?
Why is the Cannabis plant illegal under NDPS Act?
Could Economy be boosted


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