The Roots of the word weed or marijuana can be traced back from 1700 BC which means 5000 years old. From the old days, till now weed is addressed and known with several names such as Marijuana, Cannabis, Charas, Ganja, Bhang, etc. where the feature of every name is same which is getting – high, after consumption. Weed is consumed through hand rolled paper called joint or through water pipes.
Till now, the matter is in controversy and Debate continues if it should be legalized as it is beneficial for many medicinal purposes or banned as it affects health severally and can cause destruction in society if consumed. Until 1985 and before the NDPS act, all the flowers or resins which are weed, hash or bhang were illegally sold and consumed. It is the NDPS act which changes the scenario. For 25 years, India resisted the treaty of Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961, which was the campaign initiated by the US. In 1986, India enacted the NDPS act under which it criminalized the marijuana and other hard drugs.
VIEW OF INDIA ON THE LEGALITY OF MARIJUANA
India aims to discourage the use of drugs and for that legislature enacted various provisions like:
• Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940,
• The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and
• The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988
These are the acts which are enacted at the central level. The responsibility to carry out these provisions lies on the ministries and officers.
World health organization made a recommendation by highlighting various aspects of cannabis and by those points; India was convinced by the cannabis and its resins hence becoming one of the 27 countries who voted for removing the cannabis from the list of prohibited substances. India defined the different types of cannabis under section 2(3) of the NDPS Act, where it clarifies which part of the cannabis will be covered under marijuana and hence punishable.
By adopted of international treaty SCND in 1961 , India named the marijuana as the ‘hard drug’. Section 20 of NDPS act states about various offences related to marijuana which is punishable. The section doesn’t state uniform punishment for every kind of offence but the punishment varies according to the quantity which the person possess as it is divided according to the small quantity and commercial quantity.
VIEW OF DIFFERENT STATES
NDPS is the central law which deals with marijuana or weed but aside from this, every state has its own law regarding the possession, sale or consumption of weed or any cannabis. As a general rule, weed is ban in India and dealing in it, can cause serious legal trouble. NDPS is the general act which is used in the case related to drug but apart from it state laws can also be referred and if the matter involves any child who is below 18 years then juvenile justice (care and protection) act 2000, can also be referred. Section 18 of JJ act 2000 deals with offences related to marijuana, which is applicable to only children below 18 years as NDPS act doesn’t apply on them.
Under NDPS only sale and production of marijuana is banned where use of those leaves and seeds are not covered under criminal activity. Assam didn’t accepted this general point and under Assam Ganja and Bhang Prohibition Act, 1985 it held sale, purchase and even the use of marijuana illegal. Apart from marijuana, bhang is also banned in Assam, though bhang is not covered under cannabis and it is openly consumed in India in various parts. UP and Rajasthan has authorized bhang shops who sells bhang openly.
By section 10 of NDPS act, every state has authority to make their laws regarding the manufacture, trade, sell consume, production, possession and export the cannabis where charas is not excluded. Uttarakhand in 2018 , became the first state which legalized the cultivation of hemp for commercial purpose whereas Orrisa legalized the smoking of weed where smoking ‘chillums’ is very common within the state territory.
Legislature is very serious in this matter as it even banned the possession of the weed or marijuana irrespective of the purpose of the possession. Even if the person doesn’t have the knowledge regarding the possession he still can be punished. The amount or term of the imprisonment differs from the quantity to quantity. Also if the person is habitual offender or he is regularly found in the possession of weed or marijuana then also the amount or the term of the punishment can be increased.
Also if the person doesn’t himself smokes or possess the wed but allows its use on its property or have the knowledge regarding that then he will be punished under section 25 of NDPS act. Also the term and the amount of the punishment will be same as of section 20 of the NPDS act.
PURPOSE OF CANNABIS
There are generally two purpose of cannabis. One is the medicinal purpose and other is the recreational purpose.
Medicinal purpose is used to treat various diseases like cancer, epilepsy, anemia etc whereas recreational purpose is somewhat changing one’s feelings like turning someone happy or exhilarated. In India cannabis is banned for either purpose hence making it criminalize under NDPS act.
NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU
NCB is formed by the authority given by the Indian constitution 1949, under the heading of directive principles. Article 47of the Indian constitution gives authority to state to ban or control the use of intoxicated drugs except for medicinal purposes. This is further flowed from the international conventions. NCB was formed on the 17th of March, 1986 after the enactment of NDPS act.
NCB is the apex agency which looks over all the matters related to drugs from the central as well as state level. It is further divided into zone and sub zone where the data of both the zones is compiled and then analyzed related to all seizure and consumption of drugs. They study various trends and hence work with state policy and other state enforcement.
All the matters related to drug are investigated by this agency only. NCB has the duty to comply with the NDPS act and to achieve the objective which is set by the country by enacting the NDPS act. Apart from NDPS act, India has entered into various treaties at international level which is also related to UN drug convention, NCB has the duty to regulate its action according to that signatory treaties. NCB has the pressure to disclose off the case quickly and moulds its technique f investigation with the needs and updated technology by following proper procedure of law. They aim to act fairly and impartially for eliminating the use of drugs from the society.
The main task which is performed by the bureau is to coordinate the function of the central government, assisting the authorities in foreign offices and organization for bringing the coordination in the work all over the world, implementing various measures and new rules against illicit traffic under international protocols and Indian legislature.
STATUS OF MARIJUANA ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY
Generally many countries has criminalized even the possession of the cannabis with the consumption of it but there are country which don not criminalized it and they made it legal in their country. The point differs from country to country and every country has its own set of rules for controlling the use of cannabis.
Canada is the first name whenever the word marijuana pops up as it is the second country that legalized the use of weed in 2018 which can be for recreational purpose also. Before this, in 2001 Canada already legalized the use of weed for medicinal purpose. Aside from Canada, Uruguay is the first county where the consumption, possession and even the trading in the weed is legal since 2013 but due to delayed procedural laws and other legal formality, the sale in the weed started in 2017.
The status of weed in US is not uniform throughout the whole country but it differs from its state, like for example in many states like California, Alaska, Vermont, the use of weed is legalized whereas 14 states are not in favor of this law and it decriminalized even the simple possession of marijuana.
It is not correct if we say that cannabis is not useful for the society at all and there must be absolute ban on this but there are instances which proved and supported that cannabis can be useful and help the people. It is the amount of cannabis which can harm the health of the consumer. If anyone consumes marijuana regularly then those people will get addicted to it and hence it will hamper its mental health. Long term consumption can lead to PCD and other mental illness like depression and anxiety.
Even in 2019, PIL was filed which challenged he certain provisions related to cannabis. That PIL doesn’t aim to absolute legalizing of cannabis but it only aims to lessens the strictness of law I the area of cannabis and want to bring change in the provisions according to some developed country.