Pro-cannabis movements in the US which has never failed to grab headlines every time a new development comes up may have inspired some countries to raise interest in this often stigmatized drug.
In a bold and surprising move, India’s Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi suggested the legalization of medical marijuana in the country.
Gandhi looks into the prospect of adopting the practices used by developing countries such as the US in curbing drug abuse in India.
Hope in mirrors
In a meeting with the GoM or the Group of Ministers, Gandhi explained that eventual adoption of marijuana in many developed countries has positively resulted to lesser drug abuse cases.
Given India has its fair share of drug-related problems, she suggested that the same steps be taken to reach the same results.
The GoM examined and then approved changes to the National Drug Demand Reduction Policy based on the suggestions made during the meeting.
Gandhi says medical marijuana should be made legal in the country, especially when it has a great potential in cancer studies.
Not just marijuana
During the meeting, Gandhi also expressed her concerns over the need to regulate the sale and availability of pharma drugs such as inhalants and codeine cough syrups – substances which she says are often subjected to abuse.
She furthermore emphasized that the national survey on drug abuse should especially cover children residing within railway station zones. And since these children might be some of those most prone to the problem, she suggested the possibility of setting up addiction centers near said areas.
Not the time
Not all share Gandhi’s enthusiasm on the matter.
Secretary of Social Justice and Empowerment G. Latha Krishna Rao says the masses may not be adequately prepared for the suggested medical cannabis access. She attributes her uncertainty to the population’s high count and low literacy levels.
The minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar though, may have a more realistic action plan. Given that drug access is common near colleges and schools, he suggested that awareness be raised first among the young people in order to sensitize them to drug abuse, especially where they are most vulnerable.