Article by Seshata, Dope Magazine
Legalization of cannabis has been a hot topic in India in recent weeks. Some weeks ago, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi famously stated her support for legalization. Since then, the topic has hardly been out of the news – and now, India has finally taken a decisive step towards legalization.
Last week, the government of India issued the first-ever license to grow medicinal cannabis for research purposes. The official license-holder is the Council of Scientific and Medical Research (CSIR). The council will work in collaboration with a Mumbai-based firm, the Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO).
BOHECO and CSIR have already spent two years collecting over a hundred different accessions of cannabis from various parts of India. They now intend to grow twenty of these varieties and research their potential medicinal benefits, before ultimately developing cannabis-based drugs from them. The cannabis will be grown in Jammu and Kashmir, in the far north of India.
No Good News For Recreational Users
This development may offer some potential hope to medicinal users, but the rights of recreational users will not be addressed or ameliorated in any way. Indeed, BOHECO co-founder Avnish Pandya pointedly distanced the company from recreational use:
“India is going to adopt a different model from the US, where we are going to look at it from a health perspective first, and not mix it with the recreational side of the plant.”
He added, “It won’t be raw cannabis; it will be an actual product in the form of extracts, pills, and patches.”