Celebrities hounded for cannabis use, but India votes to remove it from list of dangerous substances at UN
India has voted with the majority to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances at the 63rd session of UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has been a lot in the news lately for questioning celebrities and making arrests for alleged possession of narcotics, especially cannabis (ganja).
On November 9, it arrested Bollywood producer Firoz Nadiadwala’s wife Shabana Saeed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 after 10 grams of ganja was allegedly found at their residence in suburban Juhu in Mumbai.
On November 21, it arrested comedian and television personality Bharti Singh and her husband, Harsh Limbachiya, after the NCB raided the couple's home and office, where they allegedly recovered 86.5 grams of ganja.
Till date, the bureau has arrested over 20 individuals, and has questioned actors such as Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, and Arjun Rampal.
In an interesting development, India has, however, voted with the majority at the United Nations to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances in the flagship international Convention on narcotic drugs.
The decision was taken on December 2 by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at its ongoing 63rd session, The Indian Express reported.
“The CND zeroed-in on the decision to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin,” the UN said in a news release on December 2.
Twenty-seven of the CND’s 53 Member States — including India, the United States and most European nations — voted “Yes” on the motion to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention.
For 59 years, cannabis had been subject to the strictest control schedules, which even discouraged its use for medical purposes, the UN said. Global attitudes towards cannabis have changed dramatically since the commencement of the 1961 Convention, with many jurisdictions permitting cannabis use for recreation, medication or both. Currently, over 50 countries allow medicinal cannabis programmes, and its recreational use has been legalised in Canada, Uruguay and 15 US states, the UN added.
Under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and use of cannabis is a punishable offence. Charas, defined as “the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant”, is also covered by the NDPS Act.
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