Decriminalization of Cannabis

Decriminalization of Cannabis

News: Thailand has become the first country in Asia to decriminalize Marijuana which is also known as Cannabis.

• It has decriminalized Marijuana with the aim of boosting its agriculture and tourism sectors.
• Under decriminalization, it is no longer a crime in Thailand to grow and trade marijuana and hemp products, or use parts of the plant to treat illnesses.
• In 2018, Canada became the first G20 country to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Uruguay legalized the recreational use of marijuana for all adults above the age of 18 in 2013.

What is Marijuana?
• Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical, recreational & religious purposes.
• Cannabis can be used for smoking, vaporization, within food, or as an extract.
• It creates mental and physical effects, such as a ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ feeling, a general change in perception, and an increase in appetite.
• Short term side effects may include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, red eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.
• Long term side effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability and behavioural problems in children whose mothers’ used cannabis during pregnancy.

What is the status of regulation in India?
• Cannabis was regulated by the state excise departments and legally sold till 1985.
• In 1985 The Narcotic Drugs and Psychoactive Substances (NDPS) Act has been enacted central level commercial cultivation of cannabis by production, possession, sale/purchase, transportation, interstate import/export or any other forms is punishable. The Act has been amended three times – in 1988, 2001, and most recently in 2014.
• While CBD oil manufacturing is licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 can be legally used and sold. Some Indian websites do sell. But to purchase it one needs a prescription and many even facilitate it.
• Similarly, Bhang, ganja and charas are enlisted in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 for use in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. 

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