Decks cleared for cannabis farming for medical, industrial use in Himachal

Bhanu P Lohumi

Shimla, January 31

The first-ever Integrated Drug Prevention Policy approved here today has cleared the decks for the cultivation of cannabis for medical, scientific and industrial purposes under the provision of the Cultivation and Regulation under NDPS Act 1985. The Cabinet approved.

The policy document cited Section 10 and 8 of the NDPS Act, 1985, for the regulation of cannabis cultivation for medical, scientific and industrial purposes as hemp seed is used for the treatment of tumours and cancerous ulcers and hemp oil contains 80 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Cannabis is biologically active and acts as narcotic, sedative, anti-fungal, anti-psychotic, anti bacterial, anti-malarial, anti-leishmanial and stomachic and Section 14 of the NDPS Act permits cannabis cultivation for horticultural and industrial purposes by issuing a general or special order.

The policy aims at curbing the grievous problem of drug trafficking, substance abuse, drug cultivation, production and consumption in 10 districts and stringent action under the NDPS Act against the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium, said convener of the Nasha Nivaran Board OP Sharma, who drafted the policy.

The Mission Development Drug Control (MDDC) for eradication of drug-yielding crops and subsequent production and abuse suggests introducing high-yield and high-income generating crop diversification models dedicated to the drug affected areas, providing trainings/ capacity building in natural farming and other crop management practices and establishing forward linkages (market facilities) and ensure immediate and fair price returns, he added.

A joint interrogation centre will be set up for collecting information, collaboration with international agencies like the UNODC to prevent darknet markets operations and training will be imparted to drug law enforcement personnel for combating illicit trafficking of drugs, besides launching public awareness campaigns about harm caused by peddlers.

To keep a tab on the sale of drugs to children, all educational institutions will be notified as "No-Drugs, No Intoxication Zone". Sports infrastructure (one playground and gymnasium) will be provided at each panchayat and municipal ward to engage the youth.

The policy also prescribes for the establishment of a compulsory mechanism for collection of statistics with regard to illicit drug production and trafficking, drug addiction and its impact on socio-economic status as well as internal security, besides profiling of drug traffickers.

The policy prescribes for taking initiatives to motivate neighbouring states to assert unified regional strategy to fight drug problem, conducting joint drug law enforcement operations. The Integrated and Dedicated Multilateral Programme namely the HP 'Integrated Drug Prevention and Alternative Rehabilitation Program' will also be launched.

Curbing drug peddling

The policy aims at curbing the problem of drug trafficking, substance abuse, drug cultivation, production and consumption in 10 districts and stringent action under the NDPS Act against the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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