Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has formed a five-member committee to study the issue of legalising cannabis cultivation. The panel will submit its report within a month. Assembly speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania constituted a committee of MLAs on the advice of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
The committee is headed by Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi and will have Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sundar Thakur, MLAs Purna Thakur, Hans Raj, and Janak Raj as its members.
Committee to submit report in one month
The committee would submit its report on use, misuse and other aspects of cannabis cultivation within one month.
The decision to constitute the committee was taken after a discussion on a resolution brought by BJP MLA Purna Chand Thakur to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes.
Replying to the discussion, Sukhu said the government would take an appropriate decision after getting full information on the medicinal use of leaves and seeds of cannabis.
The committee would visit the places where illegal cultivation of cannabis is rampant before submitting its report, Sukhu said, adding the Central government has permitted cultivation of cannabis in some districts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Cannabis cultivation is being done in Uttarakhand also, he said.
Cannabis cultivation will improve economy
Earlier, moving the resolution, Puran Chand Thakur said that legalising cannabis cultivation would improve the economy of rural areas and also increase the revenue of the state.
Congress’ Sunder Singh Thakur said that the demand for legalising cannabis cultivation had been made in the past also and permission should be granted for cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes.
The leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said that this needs to work out and decisions shall not be taken hurriedly. "The matter of cannabis cultivation and making it legal had been brought here in the assembly for discussion today. It needs to be explored, it should not be done hurriedly, all aspects need to be explored. We shall have to wait for it," said Thakur.
Use of cannabis
Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi said that there is a misconception that cannabis can be used as a drug only. “Now there are techniques to grow it on a large scale that can reduce the narcotic value material and can use its medicinal value to cure diseases like cancer, etc. It can be used for industrial use for raw cannabis. The five members committee will do a detailed study and will submit a report to the government," added Negi who will be heading the committee.
"There are numerous ways to make it legal, the opium cultivation is also allowed by the government of India in many states. We shall explore all possibilities that will help to strengthen the economy of the state," Negi further added.
Janak Raj BJP MLA, the medical expert member of the newly formed committee said that the medical use of cannibals will not only help to curb the drug menace and also to provide employment to the youth by strengthening the economy of the state.
He said this would make Himachal Pradesh a leading state in the country for the usage of cannabis for medical purposes. The experts also are of the opinion to take opium under consideration for best and legal use for medical purposes.
(With agencies input)