According to a report in The Economic Times, a marijuana research firm in India has raised funds worth 6.25 crore from Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, and Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director at the Google India. According to the sources, the ‘Bombay Hemp Company’ (BOHECO), after receiving seed funding from a group of investors which also include Tata and Anandan, will be collaborating with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). For this CSIR also received a license in August this year to research for the medical properties of marijuana (cannabis).
“Lots of institutions in India want to research the medical benefits of cannabis. Marijuana is still classified as a narcotic,” we intend to study and develop medical properties of cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy and chemotherapy-induced side-effects. Depending on the decision of the Drugs Controller General of India, we may even skip the initial research phases and begin with human trials,” says Avnish Pandya, Director of R&D at the Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO).
Apart from this, cannabis and its consumption in any form still remain illegal in India having punishments ranging from imprisonment to monetary penalties. 30 years ago, in the year 1985, when India’s old drug policy was passed, a lot of states of the United States of America legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, but India is still adamant in its decision. Anyhow, everyone is hoping that the results of this research are positive and in everyone’s favor.
World Health Organization (WHO) has stated many uses for marijuana and has also demonstrated therapeutic effects of cannabinoids used for treating nausea and vomiting in the advanced stages of cancer and AIDS. Other uses of cannabinoids are found in the treatment of asthma and glaucoma and can also be used as an antidepressant and an appetite stimulant.
Various medical and political experts support the principles of the bill and have spoken about it privately as well as publicly. One of the advocates Aditya Barthakur had also filed a petition to legalize marijuana in the Bombay High Court in 2013. He says, “Ayurveda and Indian history is explicit in its embrace of marijuana’s medical benefits”. He also adds in the favor medical marijuana that, “Alcohol – a known killer and highly addictive substance – is legal and only barely policed, while a plant that far outdates any liquor and exhibits tremendous physiological and psychological benefits remains outlawed under the archaic legislation. This is a clear violation of the inherent Fundamental Rights of all citizens. How can you criminalize something that is naturally occurring or grows out of the ground?”
Along with the cannabis, Barthakur also requested to include its extracts such as ganja and bhaang in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, but unfortunately, his appeal got dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Maneka Gandhi, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development has also called for the legalization of medical marijuana in India, and Rajya Sabha MP Tathagata Satpathy has suggested legalizing cannabis to discourage and curb the increasing rates of alcohol consumption.
An appeal has been raised and rather than barring it from use, it should be supported because we cannot always make our mother nature look like an idiot, making her creations and uses illegal.