GUWAHATI: The Manipur government is mulling legalising cannabis, also known as marijuana and “ganja”.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh said cannabis might be legalised in the state for medicinal purposes.
“The government is thinking of legalising cannabis but that will be solely for medicinal and industrial purposes,” Singh said.
According to him, the oil extracted from cannabis helps patients of paralysis to recover as it strengthens nerves. If the plants are legalised under a system, it can boost the state’s economy, the CM said.
“We will discuss the issue at the next meeting of state Cabinet. Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have already legalised it for medicinal purposes,” he said.
Cannabis produced in Manipur is considered the best in the country. It has a huge market in the Northeast as well as in states like Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
A kg of ganja, priced around Rs.2000-Rs.3000 in Manipur, is sold at Rs.8000-Rs.10000 in mainland India. Not just the common man, even a section of militants in the Northeast is involved in the illegal trade of cannabis. The consignment is often smuggled via Assam.
Back in 2000, the Manipur government had imposed a ban on the cultivation of cannabis under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. It is cultivated in several parts of the state, particularly Ukhrul, Imphal East, Chandel and Senapati districts.