Uday Chopra, son of veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra, said he would like to see marijuana legalised in India. He wrote in a Twitter post, “I feel India should legalise marijuana. Firstly, It’s part of our culture. Secondly, I think if legalised and taxed it can be a huge revenue source. Not to mention it will remove the criminal element associated with it. Plus, and most importantly, it has a lot of medical benefits!”
In a later tweet, he wrote that he doesn’t use marijuana.
This is not the first time that legislators have pushed the issue of weed legislation. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has been pushing for legal marijuana, extolling its medical benefits as well as the help in cutting down illegal drug trade. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had also suggested legalising marijuana in India for medical purposes on the lines of the practice adopted by some developed countries like the US to curb drug abuse.
The suggestion was made by Gandhi at a meeting of a group of ministers (GOM), which examined the draft cabinet note National Drug Demand Reduction Policy, according to the minutes of the second meeting, a copy of which is with PTI.
The GoM approved the draft national policy with minor modifications suggested in the meeting.
Gandhi informed that in "some of the developed countries like the US, marijuana has been legalised which ultimately results in less drug abuse".
She said that "the possibility of the same maybe explored in India", as per the document.
When asked to elaborate, Gandhi told PTI that "marijuana should be legalised for medical purposes, especially as it serves a purpose in cancer".
During the meeting of the GoM, which was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Gandhi also stressed on the need for regulating the sale and availability of pharmaceutical drugs such as codeine cough syrups and inhalants among others which are being abused.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the GoM to examine the draft policy for drug demand reduction which seeks to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country.
Referring to the national survey on drug abuse, conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice in collaboration with AIIMS, which covers students, transgenders and sex workers among others, Gandhi said children especially those living in and around major railway stations should also be covered.
She also suggested exploring the possibility of setting up de-addiction centres near these railway stations.