Edited by- Aruna Nidamarthy
India’s social and economic histories cover a wide spectrum of highs and lows, the reflection of which is imprinted on present India. The free India is now 71 years old, and taking a peek at the timeline of the developed nations, 60 to 100 years is usually a nation’s adolescence stage, that is, the developing period and also the muddle stretch.
Thus, when it comes to jotting down the problems in today’s India, to mention some: poverty, debt bondage, population, corruption, black money, standard of living, unemployment, and the list goes on, be it social or economic. The pivot of India’s journey towards development is rotating degree by degree, with each demarche in favor of rectifying these issues. Although, the steps taken till date, don’t really hold a major individual stake in this rotation, there is a substantial comprehensive shift. The current Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitely, stated, “It is quite obvious that incremental change is not going to take us anywhere. We have to think in terms of a quantum jump”. His words being accurately expressive of India’s current situation, also underline the need for a major degree shift on the pivot.
According to the minutes of the second meeting of a group of ministers examining the draft cabinet note - National Drug Demand Reduction Policy, the Woman and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, suggested the legalisation of Marijuana, a psychoactive drug, for medicinal purposes. This comes after the South American nation, Uruguay, which became the first country to legalize complete production, sale and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes. In addition to this, currently, 29 out of 50 states of the United States of America allow the consumption of marijuana for some purpose or the other. Maneka Gandhi used USA’s progress in the fight against drug abuse as a tool to support her suggestion. The approval of this draft national policy, with some modifications, might just be the outset of the ‘quantum jump’ mentioned by the finance minister of our country.
In India, alcohol takes one life every ninety-six minutes; and cigarettes took three lives while you were reading this article. Marijuana, on the other hand, irrespective of the form consumed in, can’t be accused for taking even a single life in the whole human history, anywhere in the world. Rather, it has a positive impact on the economic, as well as medical status of the country.
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant species intended for medicinal or recreational use. Various studies have found that Marijuana helps medically in the following ways:
i. The plant helps AIDS/HIV patients sleep better, eat better and also reduces their neuropathic pain.
ii. Some of the plant’s chemicals help patients with Alzheimer's, gain weight and also reduce the agitated behavior.
iii. Patients suffering from arthritis, after using derivatives of the plant, felt less pain and hence low inflammation while it also helped them sleep better.
iv. The plant’s smoke dilates the human airways and hence helps Asthma patients.
v. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of the plant, has been found to increase the impact of radiation on cancer cells. Along with this, it has stopped the growth of cancer cells and also in some cases has killed them.
vi. Medicines made out of the plant are being used to treat sclerosis patients to reduce chronic pain.
vii. THC reduces eye pressure, that is, it helps in treating Glaucoma, which is apparently one of the leading causes of blindness.
Talking about the economic impact of the legalization of medicinal marijuana, there are various factors through which this step is going to expand the Indian economy. India’s healthcare industry is at a high right now, with international clients preferring India over others due to its cheap and skilful treatments. Hence, as mentioned earlier, addition of Marijuana to the treatment list will boost the healthcare industry, which will make the Indian economy stronger.
The inclusion of marijuana under taxable goods will increase the government’s revenue by folds. Apart from which, the government will also get to save up on the money it spends annually on law enforcement, that is, on keeping the drug off market.
To conclude, India’s social and economic histories cover a wide spectrum of highs and lows, and this step is the outset of an all time high.