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LAW RELATED TO DRUGS IN INDIA, ROLE OF NDPS AND LEGALIZATION OF BHAANG

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychiatric Substances Act, 1985, often known as the NDPS Act, is an Indian law that forbids anybody from producing, manufacturing, cultivating, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, or consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

Objectives

· To take efforts to prevent, combat, and regulate narcotic drug and psychotropic substance-related operations.

· To make property obtained from or used in the illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances forfeitable.

· To carry out the terms of the International Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Conventions, as well as all other pertinent topics.

· To add or remove psychoactive drugs from the list.

Applicability

The NDPS Act makes it illegal to manufacture, produce, cultivate, possess, sell, buy, transport, store, or use any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance without first obtaining permission from the proper authorities.

Important Characteristics

· Opium poppy straw cultivation and production

· The delivery of the opium produced and the setting of its price

· Natural pharmaceutics manufacturing

· International conventions require the submission of reports, returns, and estimations.

Penalties

· Production, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, use, or omission to warehouse of popy straw, coca plant and coca leaves, preparation of opium and opium poppy, cannabis plant and cannabis or any other such narcotic drug and psychotropic substance, and any other preparation are all punishable under the act, with penalties ranging from imprisonment to fines to both, depending on the severity of the crime.

· These offences are tried in Special Courts, and the penalties range from 10 to 20 years in jail for first offences to 15 to 30 years in prison for consecutive offences, as well as monitory fines.

· Possession of minor quantities of drugs (as defined in the Act) will result in a maximum of 6 months in prison or a fine of up to Rs. 10,000, or both. However, in the case of commercial quantities, strict imprisonment ranging from 10 to 20 years (minimum) and a fine ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs will be imposed.




Penalties under the NDPS Act

· Section 20 of the NDPS Act, 1985, prohibits not just the consumption of cannabis, but also its production, possession, usage, sale/purchase, import/export, transit, and warehousing, unless for medical or research purposes.

Producing, manufacturing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, importing, exporting, or using cannabis carries the following penalties:

· For a small batch: Intensive imprisonment for a period of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both.

· For quantities more than small but less than commercial: The sentence could be up to ten years in prison, with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

· For commercial quantities: the penalty will be a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of Rs 1 lakh (which can be extended to two lakhs).

· Juveniles: Juveniles have their own statute (Section 18 of the Juvenile Justice Act), and those under the age of 18 cannot be prosecuted under the NDPS Act.

States have the authority to enact legislation.

· States have the authority to write cannabis laws that allow for the usage of seeds and leaves (popularly used to make bhang). Authorized shops sell the same in UP and Rajasthan, for example. During Holi, Thandai, a milkshake prepared with bhaang, is very popular in Uttar Pradesh, and bhaang is also used in holidays like Mahashivratri.

· Bhang is popular among Sikh Nihangs, especially during Hola Mohalla. Sufis in India imbue the cannabis plant with the spirit of Khidr and ingest bhang. As a result of the Act's definition of cannabis, bhang is legal under the NDPS Act.

· The legality of bhang in a specific state, on the other hand, is governed by the laws of that state.

· Section 10 of the NDPS Act gives states the authority to approve and control the cultivation of any cannabis plant, as well as the production, manufacture, possession, transportation, interstate import and export, sale, consumption, and use of cannabis (excluding charas).

· The government may authorise the growing of a cannabis plant "for industrial purposes alone of extracting fibre or seed or for horticultural reasons" under Section 14, which is a unique provision for cannabis.

Under state law, Uttarakhand approved commercial hemp production in 2018. Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant that is grown primarily for the industrial applications of its derivative products. The sale, purchase, possession, and consumption of ganja and bhang are all prohibited in Assam under Section 3 of the Assam Ganja and Bhang Prohibition Act, 1958.

The Bombay Prohibition (BP) Act, 1949, prohibits the manufacture, possession, and consumption of bhang and bhang-containing compounds without a licence in Maharashtra.

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