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growing marijuana in india

Growing marijuana in india

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Hundreds of varieties of the three types of cannabis—Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis—grow wild over the Indian subcontinent, cropping up lush alongside highways or city parks, taking over like, well, a weed.

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Vijaya, as cannabis is known in the ancient Hindu Vedas, is part of the country’s mythology, history, and festive traditions. There is only one aspect of Indian society it isn’t yet part of: industry.

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Growing marijuana in india

Belize: Marijuana use (up to 10 gm in possession).

Georgia: Only consumption is legal, not cultivation or sale for recreational purposes.

Cannabis: The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, and excise laws in several states restrict people from consuming cannabis or any of its byproducts. It is also illegal to possess cannabis flower and bud and their byproducts.

Punishment: Imprisonment for six months and/or a fine of Rs.10,000. Under NDPS, consuming bhang is not illegal but several states (through excise laws) prohibit the use of cannabis leaves or drinking bhang.

Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Barbados, Ecuador, Cyprus: Only for medicinal use.

Netherlands: Sale through licensed sellers.

Cannabis contains cannabinoids, which helps in numbing pain by acting on cannabinoid receptors in our brain, while opium-derivative opioids interact with receptors, reducing pain and creating a euphoric effect. Opioid overdose can cause deaths.

Cannabis has been in use in India for over 2,000 years. The Sushruta Samhita, an ancient medical treatise, recommends cannabis plant extract for treating respiratory ailments and diarrhoea. In 1798, the British parliament enacted a tax on cannabis byproducts to reduce consumption.

Cultivation in India

Cannabis: Only permitted in Uttarakhand through a state licence.

Poppy: Regulated by the Central Board of Narcotics (CBN), it is grown only in parts of MP, UP & Rajasthan. The two plants are legally grown for pharmaceutical uses. Cannabis is also used in some religious rituals and festivals such as Holi where bhang is consumed.

Charas gets more valuable every year, but the farmers still live a humble life. Most fields are small, and 50 buds of ganja produce only 10 grams of charas.

After harvesting the cannabis indica, farmers spend hours slowly rubbing the resin from the plant’s flowers to create charas, a type of hashish that’s considered to be some of the best in the world. It can cost up to 20 dollars per gram in the West. Cannabis is illegal in India, but many villagers have turned to charas manufacturing out of financial necessity.

In the Himalayas of India, small villages thrive by growing cannabis.

This is one of them. The village, perched on a mountain at 9,000 feet (2,700 meters), is only reachable on foot. The hike takes three hours. Villagers say it’s been a good season so far—police have only shown up to cut plants twice. But those plants are a drop in the ocean. Ganja grows wild in the Indian Himalayas, and it’s nearly impossible to curb its illegal cultivation.

The plant is native but illegal in India, and mountain farmers rely on its cultivation.

Sadhus—Hindu holy men who went to the Himalayas in meditation—were among the first to make charas. When hippies began following sadhus through the mountains in the 1970s, locals, who had been smoking a rough mix of resin and other parts of the plant, began making charas, too. They follow the same technique today to produce what’s estimated to be tons of charas a year. There are no official figures for India’s charas production or cannabis cultivation. Because it’s illegal, the Indian government has never conducted a large-scale survey to assess cannabis production within its boundaries.