The government of Nepal is preparing to allow marijuana cultivation for medicinal purposes, informs a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The ministry’s Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division is preparing a standard operating procedure in this regard. The document will define provisions on the monitoring and regulation of marijuana cultivation. Thus, the ministry will ready for implementation in the next six months. It was being used for medicinal purposes for ages, but now it will be brought under the ambit of the law.For the past few years, there are demands rife for legalising marijuana. The rule under preparation, once implemented, will open a door to legalisation although partially.
Ganja also called cannabis in Nepal has been made illegal since 1976, but the country has a long history of use of cannabis for Ayurvedic medicine, intoxicant and as a holy offering for Hindu god Shiva and continues to produce cannabis illicitly.
Nepal has used psychoactive cannabis for centuries, and as early as the 1970s Nepalese Charas(opium) was recognized as the best available. Nepal was a gateway destination for every Ganja lover. There used to be a street known as Freak Street where Marijuana products were sold openly by licensed agents.
Some lawmakers of Nepal are pushing to legalize marijuana decades after the Himalayan country, once an international hippie haven due to its Ganja cultivation, outlawed the production and consumption.
But Birodh Khatiwada, now Minister for Health and 47 other lawmakers are stressing the potential economic boost to the country from exports to meet demand for medical applications. They filed a motion in parliament in January of 2021 calling for legalization. Sher Bahadur Tamang, another lawmaker on March 2 the same year registered a private bill, paving the way for the federal government to legalize marijuana in Nepal.
The potential size of Nepal’s Ganja industry is yet to study in detail to determine. But according to Grand View Research, the global market is expected to reach $73.6 billion by 2027.
The lawmakers who are for legalising Ganja trade argue that because cannabis is legal now in Canada and many parts of the U.S., Nepal should follow suit and profit from its cultivation and sale amid increasing international acceptance and use. Also to worth mention that World Health Organization has also said that marijuana is not a drug.
The legislation calls for decriminalizing the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis by nullifying the 1976 Narcotics Drugs Control Act. That law stipulates three years of jail and a fine of 25,000 Nepali rupees ($210) for anyone found growing marijuana. Similarly, anyone found trafficking in it faces a prison term of between two and 10 years, plus a fine of 1,000 rupees.