Dehra Dun: Residents of Uttarakhand, except for those staying in regions of Terai and Bhabar, will now be able to cultivate cannabis, on the condition that it is grown only for industrial purposes, to be sold to the state government and not private parties.
The cannabis or hemp permitted to be grown will contain only 0.3 to 1.5 percent of THC (tetra hydro cannabinol), the chemical responsible for the ‘high’ when smoked.
“The normal ranges of THC content in plants that grow wild in Uttarakhand in abundance is four to five per cent and this is which makes it give a high when smoked and is illegal to cultivate”, said excise department officials, according to hillpost.
There has been a rise in international demands for hemp fibre, which is extremely strong and capable of carrying huge loads. China is currently leading the supply of industrial use hemp.
In Uttarakhand, where the need for cash crops is dropping, Chief Minister Harish Rawat realized that this move might entice villages to misuse the cultivated cannabis to bring in easier cash.
So, the chief secretary, along with other senior officials, have been directed to come up with proper guidelines by which, villagers would be provided with cannabis seeds with 0.3 to 1.5 per cent industrial rate THC content, and their produce would be collected by the state government.
The Vivekanand Research Centre situated in Almora, and Pant Nagar University, Uttarakhand’s renowned agricultural industry, will soon be asked to develop seeds having a THC level apt for industrial use. These seeds will then be handed over to villagers as a measure to prevent the growth of cannabis having an illegally high THC content.
The Chief Minister claimed that it was only under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act that villagers would be given the permission to grow. Moreover, strict enforcement of law will be carried out to make sure the cultivated cannabis is not used for intoxication purposes.
The Chief Minister also expressed hope that the growing demands for bio-fibre could lift the rural economy of the state.