To give a boost to the economy of the state, the government has decided to legalise cannabis cultivation in Himachal Pradesh.
After the COVID-19 badly hit the tourism of the hill state resulting in debt incurred of ₹60,500 crore, the government has decided to legalise cannabis cultivation in Himachal Pradesh.
The Chief Minister of the state, Jai Ram Thakur announced the decision during the recent budget session of the assembly.
On the basis of the NDPS Act, 1985, which allows the state to cultivate, produce, maintain and transport cannabis, the government hopes to earn Rs 18,000 crore annually.
Himachal Pradesh is suffering from a great loss due to COVID-19 and lockdown and rising unemployment due to it. The government will, hence, use the cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial use aiming to boost the economy.
With the current initiative, the government is expecting to employ nearly 50,000 youngsters. It has also been expected to directly benefit 2.8 lakh families in the low-income group.
Tale of cannabis cultivation in Himachal
Himachal Pradesh is popular for the ‘Malana cream’ also called ‘Hash’ or ‘Charas’. In places like Kulu, cannabis or hemp had been used for making footwear, ropes, mats, food items, etc.
However, during the 1980s, foreign visitors had taught villagers in the district to extract the intoxicant resin or charas from the hemp plant. It also involved the foreign drug mafia through which villagers starting making a livelihood.
Currently, cannabis is cultivated in 2,400 acres in Himachal Pradesh where Rs 960 crore worth of Charas goes to the foreign markets.
Uttarakhand was the first state to legalise the cultivation of cannabis around 2017-2018.