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The Current State of Cannabis in India.

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First things first. If you’re too lazy to read the whole thing then scroll down to the TL;DR version below. This is a 5 min read.

lets get a few facts straight. As of this articles release date cannabis is still illegal in India. Doesn’t matter where you are. If you get caught with intent to consume then it is a punishable offence. However industrial hemp, which has less that 0.3% THC, is not illegal. Meaning it can be grown only with a government issued license but anyone, anywhere across India can make products using industrial hemp.  A few states in India still have government licensed bhang shops. In these states, one can apply for a collector license to harvest naturally growing crops which can then be sold only at these government regulated shops. A research license, however, can be applied for and acquired anywhere in the country, but its not easy to get. The punishment for wrongful hemp growth can be as simple as destroying of crops, or something more severe depending on whether the authorities decide to classify the incident under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Today in India, only in the state of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh can you legally grow industrial hemp with a government issued license. There are other states where you can get a state govt issued license for industrial hemp cultivation but it’s not very well documented. As for medical research for the first time the narcotics department has sanctioned a research and development project to examine substances found in the plant. The narcotics department’s sanction means that cannabis will be grown in a monitored way, at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. According to a note released by the government, the plan is for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and CIMAP to work on the genetic improvement of identification and selection of THC, CBD and cannabinioderpene – a rich strain-level genotype of cannabis. The Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) in Jammu is reportedly working alongside CSIR on this research. The institute plans to conduct clinical trials along with the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in Mumbai, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and a Raipur-based hospital. Some animal trials were conducted previously, and the institute said  it hoped to get regulatory approval for human trials. In late 2019 Madhya Pradesh became the third state in India to announce its decision to legalize the cultivation of hemp under government supervision for industrial and medical purpose.

image from researchgate.net

So to recap here’s the TL;DR version –

  1. Cannabis is still very illegal in India.
  2. You can grow industrial hemp (THC < 0.3%) only with license in select states but anyone, anywhere in India can apply for research and to make products.
  3. Uttarakhand is the 1st state in India followed by Uttar Pradesh to legalize cultivation under govt. supervision for medical and industrial purpose.
  4. For the first time narcotics department sanctions a research and development project to examine substances found in plant. Multiple institutions working on the same with promising results and currently awaiting approval for human trials.
  5. Madhya Pradesh to become 3rd state in the country to legalize hemp cultivation under govt. supervision for medical and industrial purpose.

If you’re interested to cultivate hemp here’s all you need to know on how can one apply –

Eligibility for Application :

  1. Commercial and medical institutes having land can apply.
  2. Farmers and the owners of land can apply.
  3. There should not be any non bailable case pending in the court.

Documents required :

  1. Application submit at the District Magistrate office.
  2. Character certificate issued by District Magistrate office.
  3. Khasra – a legal Revenue Department document used in India and Pakistan that specifies land and crop details.
  4. Geographical coordinates of that land and land description.
  5. If any contract signed with a commercial unit then proof of that and facility for the storage purpose.
  6. Assurance certificate that no other license has been issued from anywhere for the same purpose on the name of applicant.

And that, my friends is the current legal situation of hemp in India!

Now you go have a hemptastic day!

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