The Show Time
In a significant announcement in his annual budget speech last week, Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced that the state government is coming up with a policy to allow controlled cultivation of hemp or cannabis in the state.
This means the state wants to legalise commercial cultivation of the plant for non-recreational uses such as making medicines and fabrics.
In 1985, India banned the cultivation of cannabis plant under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. But this Act allows state governments to allow controlled and regulated cultivation of hemp for obtaining its fibre and seed for industrial or horticultural purposes.
In parts of Himachal such as Kullu and Mandi, hemp had traditionally been used for making footwear, ropes, mats, food items, etc.
“During snowfall, we used to prepare a dish from cannabis seeds which helped keep us warm and energetic,” said Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur in the Assembly during a discussion on the subject, adding that the quality of cannabis which grows in the state is among the best in the world. He said that its seeds can also be used for making paint, ink and biofuel.
Globally, cannabis products are increasingly being used for health and medicinal purposes, and the plant has also been used to make building material.