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    PIL seeks legalisation of cannabis; Delhi High Court seeks government’s stand

    PIL seeks legalisation of cannabis; Delhi High Court seeks government’s stand

    PIL seeks legalisation of cannabis; Delhi High Court seeks government’s stand
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    By Abhishek Jha   IST (Updated)

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    The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Narendra Modi government on a plea seeking legalisation of cannabis. A trust, in its plea, has challenged provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which prohibit the use of cannabis.

    The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Narendra Modi government on a plea seeking legalisation of cannabis.
    A trust, in its plea, has challenged provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which prohibit the use of cannabis, contending that the drug has medicinal and industrial benefits and its use has been legalised in various western nations.
    A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the central government seeking its stand on the plea.
    The Great Legalisation Movement India Trust has urged the court to declare the provisions in the NDPS Act and Rules which prohibit and criminalise the use of cannabis and prescribe unreasonable restrictions with respect to activities related to it as unconstitutional.
    It has contended that treating cannabis at par with other harmful and lethal chemicals or psychotropic substances was "arbitrary, unscientific, unreasonable and unconstitutional".
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    The petition has claimed that there are several scientific research papers, including one by the World Health Organization, that establish the medicinal benefits of the use of cannabis as well as its industrial application -- extraction of fibres from the cannabis plant.
    Earlier this year, WHO called for whole-plant marijuana, as well as cannabis resin, to be removed from Schedule IV (reserved for those substances that are seen as particularly harmful with limited medical benefits) of a 1961 drug convention signed by countries from around the world.
    In the US, medical use of cannabis is legalised (with a doctor's recommendation) in 33 states while recreational use is legalised in 11 states.The petition argues that while enacting the NDPS Act, the government failed to consider cannabis' medicinal benefits, including its effect as an analgesic, its role in fighting cancer, reducing nausea and increasing appetite in HIV patients.
    The petitioner has also listed several industrial applications of the cannabis plant."Industrial hemp (Cannabis) is an agricultural commodity that is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products, including fiberboards and furniture, foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, bio-plastics, bio-fuels, graphene technology and other manufactured goods."
    Based on the above grounds, the petition has argued that that various sections of the NDPS Act are in violation of Articles 14, 19, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution of India.
    The trust, registered in Karnataka and at the forefront of the movement to decriminalise the use of cannabis, has claimed there is not a single document that shows that it was lethal to humans. It has sought directions to the government to frame rules permitting and regulating the use of cannabis, especially for medicinal purposes.
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