The religious scholars from ancient ‘vedas’ mentioned cannabis as “one of the five sacred plants” in 2000 B.C.. Even though it is still illegal to be used except in government-approved zones to sell bhang or for medicinal or research purposes.
NDPS act,1985; chapter1 section 2 defines cannabis as; “cannabis (hemp)” mean resin may be called hashish oil or liquid hashish, which can be crude or purified, that is obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated.
Also, Genus cannabis comprises any cannabis plant.
Cannabis has psychoactive properties and belong to a class of plants -cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis. The by-product of cannabis includes charas, ganja, marijuana, bhang etc.. When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried; weed is obtained it is most common drug in the world and is also referred to as pot as well as marijuana.
Its active principles are mainly tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabinol, cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabidiolic acid. Cannabidinol (CBD) is non inebriate and has a number of uses in medicines, beauty products, furniture and fuel whereas tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is psychotropic and gives the user a ‘high’, is a controlled substance. Its geographic origin includes Central Asia & Indian Subcontinent.
Uses and Side Effects;-Uses of cannabis and its products includes both useful as well as harmful outcomes. It can be smoked, vaporized, used within food or as an extract. Its uses includes medicinal, recreational and spiritual.
Medicinal:- It reduces nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. Also it improves appetite among HIV/AIDS patients.
Recreational:- It gives relaxing and euphoric effect.
But even after counting these effects, there are harmful effects too which includes:-
Dizziness, feeling tired, vomiting,
Memory and cognition problems,
Risk of schizophrenia in young people.
Altered body image,
Auditory & visual illusions,
Pseduhallucinations & ataxia from selective impairment of polysnaptic reflexes,
Depersonalization, derealization and short term memory.
It also impairs psychomotor functioning that involves impairment in attentional process, reflexes.
If chronic, patients lives in a state of stupor and suffers from melancholia and hallucinations.
In India, bhang is considered as ‘prasad of shiva’ and is commonly consumed during shiv ratri. It is also common during holla muhalla in sikh community. Muslim saints(sufis) also cousume bhang. According to a study by AIIMS in 2019, about 7.2 million Indians consumes bhang. In India, 3.2% of cannabis is consumed; out of these approx 2.89% users are teenagers.
In 2017, Uttrakhand became the first state in India to allow the cultivation of hemp. Although, the status of bhang is still questionable to the court stating it as a major pitfall of NDPS Act,1985.
Each state although has its own laws for the cultivation of cannabis; Chandigarh High court in Arjun Singh Vs State of Haryana,2004, stated that bhang is not Cannabis (hemp) under the act but it is a Cannabis plant. Under the restrictions of the law, it’s therefore not illegal to consume (bhang) cannabis leaves, but is illegal to grow cannabis plant.
Around 2017, Bihar state showed a substantial rise in intake of chars/ganja/heroine after bann on alcohol.
Chandigarh, too, showed highest intake of charas in 2019 as it showed in 2017 and 2018 collectively.
In 2018, as the statistics showed New Delhi and Mumbai were among top 10 places to consume marijuana i.e. 38.2 tones and 32.4 tones respectively. New Delhi being in third on the list.
In 2016, a movie named Udta Punjab was released by Abhishek Chaubey stating drug overuse in Punjab state.
There are several laws for drug prevention and various NGOs working for it.
Whoever, breach any provision of this Act or any rule or order made or condition of license granted cultivates any cannabis plant; shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for upto ten years and a fine of upto one lakh; or produces, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-State, exports inter-State or uses cannabis, shall be punishable depending on the quantity they possess
If, small quantity, the rigorous imprisonment is for a term which may extend to 2, or fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both;
If, quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity, the rigorous imprisonment is for a term which may extend to ten years, and with fine which extends to one lakh rupees;
If the quantity equals the commercial quantity, rigorous imprisonment is for a term of not less than ten years but can extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees:
The court on some terms can implicate a fine of two lakh rupees which should be mentioned in the judgement.
According to the tribune, on June 15 vice-pradhan of Chauli gram panchayat of Jaswan Pragpur Assemble Constituency, was arrested by Rakkar police in Jawalamukhi sub-division with 306 gms. of charas in his hotel room during raid at Kaleshwar Mahadev. He was arrested under section 20 of NDPS Act,1985.
B.R. Sharma/ Forensic Science In Criminal Investigations and Trials/ fifth edition
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act,1985
Aditi Sharma, Intern at Dept of Forensic Science & CI, Legal Desire Media & Insights.