Indian agri experts and farmers advocate for cannabis cultivation

Taking a cue from US President Joe Biden’s recent decision to pardon all Americans who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of cannabis, the farmers, farm unions, and agricultural experts in Punjab are calling for allowing the cultivation of cannabis in the state. They also threw their weight behind the cultivation of poppy husk, saying it too must be given the green light.

They said that its production will lessen the dependence on deadly synthetic drugs like ‘chitta,’ liquor, etc., which are taking the lives of hundreds of people in the state and pushing thousands into the dark world of drug addiction.

A Bhogpur-based farmer Jaswinder Singh said that in their area, cannabis grows naturally, which has no use because they cannot sell it to anyone as it is illegal, and farmers cannot grow it in their fields too. “If the government allows for its cultivation in a limited area, then it can give huge returns to them, which would be four to five times more than the wheat or paddy cultivation from one acre, as its price is quite high because of its use and high demand in the pharmaceutical sector,” he added. Another farmer Amrik Singh from Pathankot, also demanded to allow its cultivation.

In Punjab, there is a single vend of cannabis in the Hoshiarpur district, which is auctioned by the excise and taxation department every year along with the auction of liquor vends.

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