IS WEED OR MARIJUANA LEGAL IN INDIA?
~ Gauri Dabas
Marijuana, Weed, Bhaang, Charas, Ganja and so on, Cannabis in India have been named differently and have been given different forms over thousand of years. Cannabis has been an integrated part of our nation in the form of Bhaang which is used to make the “Thandai”, a popular milkshake mixed with cannabis seeds and leaves, consumed on Hindu festivals of Holi and Shivratri, the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla, and various other festive forms. In short, various forms of Cannabis like resins (Charas), Seeds (Bhaang) and flower (Ganja) have been a part of India, specifically Hindu religion.
What does law have to say about Cannabis?
The Central Legal System that deals with the cannabis in our country is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985. However, different states have different laws relating to consumption, possession, sale or purchase of weed or marijuana. In general, in our nation, possession of these drugs is considered to be a criminal act and get a person in serious legal issues.
What will happen if you get caught with it?
Even the possession of cannabis is an offense under the NDPS Act. The very purpose of the possession is not relevant and is considered an punishable which depends on the quantity of the drugs in possession. If anyone is caught with it or is found to be an addict s/he would not be subject to prosecution if s/he voluntarily chooses to undergo de-addiction treatment.
The various laws that concern and govern this very issue are-
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985
The Juvenille Justice ( Care and Protection ) Act, 2000
The State Drugs Laws
As per Section 20 of NDPS Act, 1985 - production, sale, purchase, transportation, import/export, or any other commercial activity of cannabis is punishable. The punishment varies with the quantity ranging from rigorous imprisonment of 6 months, fine of Rs. 10,000 or both to rigorous imprisonment upto 10-20 years, fine of Rs. 1-2 Lakh or both.
Being a responsible citizen,
If anyone comes across any person who is involved in any such acts with the drugs in India, s/he should contact the police authorities of the nearest police station. A complaint can also be filed with the Officer of State Customs or Excise.