Petition in Himachal Pradesh High Court to legalise Cannabis cultivation for industrial and medical use

Petition in Himachal Pradesh High Court to legalise Cannabis cultivation for industrial and medical use

Murali Krishnan

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued notice to the Central government and the State of Himachal Pradesh in a petition praying for removing restrictions on cultivation, processing and use of industrial and medical hemp in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

The petition filed by one Deshinder Khanna was heard by a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel. Senior Advocate Shrawan Dogra and advocates Deven Khanna and Harsh Kalta appeared for the petitioner.

The petition begins by stating that the the endeavour of petition is to highlight the potential of Hemp and its various uses, and to free it from the clutches of the Drug Mafia.

“Hemp’s uses are kaleidoscopic. Pull its Fibre out and it’ll give yarn, chop it into Softwood it’ll give material to build Shelter, study its Genetics and one finds Medicine

The petition cites extensive scientific data as well as relevance of cannabis in local culture to highlight the significance of the plant and its regulated cultivation.

“The local culture, which is guided to a great extent by belief in ‘devta’ (almost every village in Himachal has their own local deities and all major decisions are taken with their permission), treats cannabis as ‘shiv jikibuti’ and does not see cannabis production as something wrong.

However, the entry of the drug mafia has led to the bad reputation with which we associate the plant in the present day and age. The need of the hour is to take control of the plant from the drug mafia and give it to our scientists, doctors, textile manufacturers and other relevant industries.”

Regarding the various uses of Cannabis, the petition states,

“…the plant becomes a huge industrial resource and also can be used for treating serious medical ailments. It has to be understood that the present policy of burning the cannabis plant not only causes environmental pollution but also causes a great loss to bio-diversity and the eco-system, the plant is also essential for maintaining the richness of the soil cover.

It is also to be noted that cannabis plant is being grown world over to reduce radiation effects in areas where nuclear disasters have happened because of its properties to soak up radiation. The plant acts as a carbon store, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).”

The petition proceeds to list out various uses of Cannabis including medicinal uses like cure for tuberculosis and killing cancer cells.

The petition further states that by reducing the content of THC (0.3 to 1.5 %), which is required for industrial hemp, in the plant and providing such modified seeds, the plant will become unusable by the drug users as it diminishes the psychoactive effect of the drug.

The petition cites the example of Uttarakhand, where permission was accorded to cultivate hemp in 2015.

“That Uttarakhand in 2015 announced that farmers across the state, except those in the Terai and Bhabhar regions, will be given permission for the cultivation of hemp plants…

That villagers in Uttrakhand are being provided with cannabis seeds with 0.3 to 1.5 per cent industrial rate THC content, and their produce is being collected by the state government. The Vivekanand Research Centre situated in Almora, and Pant Nagar University, Uttarakhand’s renowned agricultural industry, is asked to develop seeds having a THC level apt for industrial use. These seeds will then be handed over to villagers as a measure to prevent the growth of cannabis having an illegally high THC content.”

The petitioner has made, inter alia, the following prayers:

  • To remove restrictions and facilitate the cultivation, processing and use of industrial and medical hemp in the state of Himachal Pradesh so that the local people can be benefited through its commercial usage and also are able to avail its medicinal properties.
  • To make regulations/guidelines on easy access to open industries and scientific research labs and institutes for Industrial and medicinal hemp use.
  • To collect important information on industrial and medicinal hemp and further to formulate guidelines/regulations to support and assistcultivation, processing and use of industrial and medicinal hemp in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • To take the control of this plant from the drug Mafia by providing farmers a legal alternative of income, and using this plant as a valuable raw material for industrial and medicinal purposes and irradiating the opportunities  of illegal trade of this plant from happening.
  • To Define industrial hemp (based on the percentage of THC it contains) and authorizing the growing and possessing of industrial hemp by creating an advisory board or commission,
  • To establishing or authorizing a state licensing or registration program for growersand/or seed breeders

The Court issued notice to Centre and State and posted the case for further hearing on March 12.

HT to Rahul Kripalani for the alert. 

Read the order below.


Read the petition below.

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