Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi proposed a bill in the parliament for the decriminalisation and regulation of marijuana and opium. The bill has been passed by the legislative branch of the parliament and would be tabled during the winter session as a private member’s bill.
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, an ousted AAP member due to the difference of ideologies, hopes to bring changes in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.
What led to the NDPS Act?
Until 1985 marijuana and opium were something that was sold legally and the consumption of the said drugs were not looked down upon.
In 1893, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom was concerned with the increasing rise in the use of marijuana in Bengal. By 1894, a 3281-page report called the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report was furnished.
The report concluded that occasional use of marijuana may have a beneficial effect but most certainly will have no evil effects physically, mentally or morally if consumed in a controlled manner.
The problem arose when in 1961 United States began to campaign for a worldwide law against all drugs. India opposed the move for almost 25 years and finally in 1984 Rajeev Gandhi government succumbed to the American pressure and passed the NDPS Act.
Provisions of the NDPS Act
The law makes possession or use of drugs punishable offence. Time of imprisonment varies with the quantity of drug found. It gets the drug under regulation and prohibits trafficking. It also allows the government to regulate, control and produce certain drugs too.
What Dharamvira Gandhi says
The Hindustan Times reports, Dr Gandhi saying that the regulation of drugs for the last 30 years did not show substantial results as it should have. It only increased the number of drug cartels, who are not even scared of the harshest punishments. The supply remains same, just behind hushed doors.
He wished that if the substances can be used for the recreational purpose by the common man, then ill-use of the same won’t occur. The criminalisation of drugs caused a rise of drug cartels, mafias and many human rights violations. He gave an example of Durette’s ‘War on Drugs’ and further proves his point right.
He also noticed that use of synthetic drugs like heroin and cocaine increased after the ban on non-synthetic drugs like ganja, opium etc.
In reply to the bill, a consumer says, “If ganja comes under the regulation of the government then the prices might increase. Yes, it is illegal now, but still, it is cheaper.”
If in the winter session the bill is passed that would mean marijuana, opium would be regulated by the government. It will become legal in India for recreational usage.