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Indian Lawmaker Vouches for Legalizing Marijuana

© AP Photo / Marcio Jose SanchezMarijuana plants on display
Marijuana plants on display - Sputnik International
Former diplomat and lawmaker Shashi Tharoor has argued that since the illegal production of marijuana cannot be controlled given its cultural, and sometimes religious, connotations, the product should be regulated and not banned.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Senior Indian lawmaker and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has called for the legalization of Marijuana, arguing that introducing regulations to check its usages would be more prudent than banning a product that is already a part of popular culture. 

In his recent writing, Tharoor, who is also a former UN diplomat, has questioned the validity of banning marijuana in a country which has a tradition of "Bhang" — a drink made of crushed cannabis leafs — being distributed in Hindu temples during festivities and special occasions. 

The festival of Holi, the color carnival, is famous for bhang consumption by revelers.

"The legal production of cannabis can help in the economic boost for the country," says Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency of Kerala province. His writing was published in the online magazine The Print.

In India, the prohibition of cannabis comes from The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985. India is a signatory of UN's Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty 1961.

"Rather than leaving the trade of cannabis in the hands of an unregulated criminal market, the drug should be safely produced by competent farmers, packaged and tested in suitable facilities, and sold by reputable and licensed vendors," Tharoor says.

The legal production and trading of marijuana would also create job opportunities from farms to the factories and India will prove a progressive leap with the legalization of the substance, he adds.

Another member of Parliament, Dharamvira Gandhi, who is also a medical practitioner, has also come out in support of his colleague.

Tharoor's suggestions were supported by many others on social media.

Wonderful piece by @ShashiTharoor and @AvinashTharoor to control the non-regularised market of cannabis in India along with outdated law. https://t.co/fUH0vncjCo

Excellent piece by @ShashiTharoor and @AvinashTharoor on the needless creation of black market violence by an outdated law https://t.co/08qzroqm2E

It has been in discussion forums for a while..@CPPRIndia published a policy brief on legalizing Marijuana two years ago. Great to know there are more supporters now… https://t.co/b2c4cV3yvk@ShashiTharoor #MarijuanaMovement #LegalizeMarijuana

After maneka Gandhi it's Shahi tharoor call for legalising cannabis. Hope the same should be allowed for medication purpose. https://t.co/Z4UOpXXbgG pic.twitter.com/gkz3onjBzN

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