Cannabis, also known as ‘marijuana’ among other names is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes.

A petition has been filed by the petitioner organization “Great Legislation India Movement Trust” before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court challenging the prohibition and criminalization of the use of cannabis in India also along with the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Rules, 1985, which prohibit and criminalize the use of cannabis or industrial hemp and prescribe restrictions on activities related to it. The petitioner organization pleads that various Sections of the NDPS Act, 1985 are in violation of Articles 14, 19, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner organization has been at the forefront of the movement to decriminalize the use of cannabis and raise awareness with respect to its medicinal, industrial, ecological, economic and other benefits. The petitioner organization has also clarified that it is not seeking to completely de-regulate the use of the drug and any regulation should be consistent with the requirement of "reasonable restriction”. The petitioner organization also submitted before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi that the treatment of cannabis at par with other harmful and lethal chemicals is arbitrary, unscientific and unreasonable.

The petitioner organization thus asserts that Parliament, while enacting the NDPS Act, 1985 did not take into consideration the positive effects of cannabis on human health and the history of use of cannabis in India. It is also asserted that the international instruments, existing before and after the Act of 1985, did not prescribe criminalization of the use of cannabis.

The members of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi also noted that cannabis has immense industrial application which include its use as biodegradable plastic, fibers and other items and also observed  that other countries like U.S., Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands have started legalizing the medicinal, industrial and recreational use of cannabis.

Another significant submission was made by the petitioner organization in its plea as to how there are government run bhaang shops running in this country when the cultivation of cannabis is prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Meanwhile, the matter will now be taken up for further hearing on July 29, 2019 by the members of the Hon’ble Court of Delhi, a petition was filed in the Himachal Pradesh High Court seeking to remove restrictions on the cultivation, processing and use of industrial and medical hemp in the state.

It needs to be seen whether the matter brings out something which is both constructive and conclusive that might bring drastic amendments pertaining to the use of cannabis in India or results in deployment of scientific researchers by the Government of India to deep study the health concerns associated with the use of cannabis and a declaration by the Central Government regarding its legal validity and usage.