20Kgs of Ganja seized from Ballari farmer

Farmer arrested in Matihalli village of Harpanahalli taluk of Ballari district for growing Marijuana (Ganja)
The farmer grew as much as 20 Kgs of Ganja which is estimated to be worth around Rs 2 Lakhs.

The offenders usually grow these plants among other plants to avoid being detected.

Weed, marijuana, bhang, charas, ganja and so on, cannabis in India has been given numerous names and forms over thousands of years. Cannabis has been a part of India and used in the form of charas (resin), bhang (seeds), and ganja (flower of cannabis).

However, Is weed legal in India? is the primary question that still comes up whenever someone mentions weed, marijuana or bhang.

What does the law say about Weed or Marijuana?
The central law that deals with cannabis (weed or marijuana) in India is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985(1). However, different states have their own laws relating to consumption, possession, sale or purchase of weed or marijuana. In general, in India, possession of these drugs is considered a criminal act and can get you in serious legal trouble.

What happens if you get caught with weed or marijuana in India?
Even possessing prohibited drugs (weed or marijuana) in India is an offence under the NDPS Act. The purpose of possession of drugs is not relevant and the punishment depends upon the quantity of drugs in possession. If a person is caught with drugs or found to be a drug addict, he/she would not be subject to prosecution if he/she voluntarily chooses to undergo de-addiction treatment.

Punishment for possession of marijuana

Section 20 Of the NDPS Act, 1985 deals with the offenses related not only to the consumption but also cultivation, possession, use, sale/purchase, import/export, transportation and warehousing of cannabis, except for medical or scientific purposes.

  • Under section 20, In the case of cultivation, a fine of up to one lakh rupees and rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years might be levied.
  • For possession of small quantities (100 grams for charas and hashish, 1000 grams for ganja), a penalty of ten thousand rupees or a jail term of 6 months to 1 year.
  • If someone is caught with commercial quantities (1 kg for charas and hashish, 20 kgs of ganja), the court can serve a stern imprisonment for up to twenty years and pay a fine of two lakh rupees.
  • Courts also at their own discretion can penalize a regular offender for a 30-year imprisonment term. It is also not compulsory to give away a mandatory death sentence for repeated convictions in cases of trafficking large quantities of drugs.
  • Section – 25 states that if a person knowingly allows one’s premises to be used for committing an offense under NDPS Act, 1985 he will be deemed to the same punishment as under section- 20.
  • Section – 28 deals with attempts, abetment and criminal conspiracy with regard to marijuana.

The laws might vary from one State to another as each State has the power to control, permit and regulate these activities.

For instance, under Uttar Pradesh excise rules there’s a potential prison term of two years and payment of a fine if someone:

(a) Imports, exports, transport or possess any intoxicant other than charas.

(b) Cultivated any hemp plant (cannabis sativa).

(c) Collects or sells any portion of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa).

(d) Collects or sells any portion of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa) from which any intoxication drug can be manufactured.

In spite of a legally enforced ban, marijuana is still used in various forms by an ever-increasing consumer base. This is primarily because the plant grows unchecked in the wild in several states across the country.

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