A Private Member’s Bill by MP Dharamvir Gandhi to regulate cannabis and opium, and legalize medical marijuana, will be heard in the winter session of Parliament this December, according to a report by Indiatimes. Gandhi is a cardiologist, a former member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and presently a Member of Parliament from Patiala. Gandhi has been advocating the legalization of medical marijuana for many years, and received the support of late MP Vinod Khanna, among others.
Indus Dictum has reported on the campaign for marijuana legalization in past articles. We have spoken to various medical, legal and political experts who support the principles of the bill privately as well as publicly. One of our guest authors, advocate Aditya Barthakur, had filed a petition to legalize marijuana in the Bombay High Court in 2013.
Mr. Barthakur had challenged the inclusion of cannabis in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) of 1985, along with all its extracts (ganja/bhaang/charas etc). The petition was dismissed by Bombay High Court, and the appeal was subsequently dismissed by Supreme Court.
Another article by the ID Chief Editor reported that marijuana related offences in India can be punished with up to a 20-year prison sentence along with fines and penalties, depending on the severity of the crime. The article also mentioned that 29 of the 50 United States have legalized medical marijuana, and 8 among them have permitted the sale to adults for recreational purposes. [Read more at Indus Dictum]