India: "No complete ban on cannabis, medical use allowed"

The use of cannabis is not completely banned in India as its medical and scientific use is allowed under the law, the Centre has told the Delhi High Court which, on Monday refused to advance the date of hearing of the plea seeking to legalise its use on various grounds including medicinal purposes. The bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakhder refused to allow the early hearing application by the petitioner Great Legalisation Movement India Trust which contended that there were reports to suggest that cannabinoids helped in countering the impact of COVID-19.

"Looking at the board position, the application can't be entertained at this junction. We are trying to do whatever is possible," the bench, also comprising Justice Talwant Singh told counsel for the petitioner, advocate Abhishek Avadhani.

The petition, which is listed for further hearing in March, has challenged provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which prohibits the use of cannabis and has contended that the drug has medicinal and industrial benefits.

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