Marijuana, a plant considered to be sacred in Atharva Veda, has many medicinal properties. Its leaves are consumed across India in the form of bhang and it also finds a mention in Hindu mythology. It isn’t uncommon to find Shiva followers consuming bhang or smoking ganja. Legendary artists like Bob Marley had flocked to India and penned songs in praise of the sacred plant.
People around the world love their pot, and India is no exception. However, it’s only partially legal in the country (in the form of bhang).
But did you know that some of our politicians actually support marijuana and believe that it should be completely legalised?
Tathagata Sathpathy, MP (BJD)
Probably the most vocal supporter of marijuana in the Parliament and otherwise is this MP from Odisha’s Dhenkanal.
Earlier this year, he did a Q&A with Reddit users. When asked about his views on cannabis, he said: “While in college, I have smoked cannabis many a times. In villages of Orissa, many people openly smoke, and as their leader, I am not entitled to be judgemental. Cannabis, luckily, is legal in certain states in India, like Orissa. You can walk up to a government excise shop and buy your day’s need.”
No wonder he got a 93 percent upvote!
Maneka Gandhi, MP (BJP)
Popular face of BJP, and animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi proposed the legalisation of cannabis in July this year. She put forward the suggestion in a meeting of the GoM (Group of Ministers).
“Marijuana should be legalised for medical purposes, especially as it serves a purpose in cancer,” she later said to PTI. She also cited the example of USA, and how there’s been a decrease in drug abuse in the country as a result of legalising cannabis.
Here’s a fun fact: marijuana, as a recreational drug for adults, is legal in nine US states.
Dharamvir Gandhi, MP (Independent)
This former member of AAP went a step ahead and tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the Parliament in support of cannabis legalisation. Not just that, the Bill was cleared by the Parliament’s legislative branch, and might be tabled in the Winter Session.
He went on record to say that several addictive and dangerous drugs had flooded the Indian markets because recreational (non-synthetic) substances were made unavailable in the first place! As a result, “heroin replaced opium, and cocaine replaced cannabis,” he rightly pointed out.
With Indian politicians speaking up in support of marijuana, there’s hope for it to become legal in future. The propaganda is spreading on social media as well.
Marijuana is less harmful and non-addictive as compared to other drugs, and it’s medical benefits are not to be ignored (it’s said to help in cases of glaucoma, seizures, cancer and pain management). Yes, excessive consumption is linked to memory loss and other problems, but too much of anything is bad, isn’t it?
Do you believe marijuana should be legalised in India? Share your views in the comments below.
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