HP mulls controlled cultivation of cannabis

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 24

The HP Government plans controlled cultivation of cannabis for various purposes, including medical, and has sought feedback from other states, such as Uttarakhand, that are already doing so. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur observed: “The bigger challenge will be to ensure people do not take to rampant cultivation.”

Specific areas as well as species of hemp with low narcotic content will be identified, if the government decides to go ahead with the proposal. Those backing the move argue that it will help strengthen the rural economy. The issue has been raised in the Assembly several times.

Several parts of the state — including Kullu-Manali, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur and Chamba — have conducive climatic conditions for cultivating cannabis. Pushing for the proposal, Kullu MLA Sunder Thakur argued, “Practically every part of the plant is used — for food, to make footwear, clothes, ropes, and most importantly in the pharma sector for medicines.”

Efforts by the police and the NCB to check illegal cannabis cultivation have failed to fructify. Efforts to wean away people of Malana village from the illegal trade have been in vain.

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