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India: Himachal plans to legalize cannabis cultivation for economic benefits

Growers in Himachal Pradesh have been demanding the cultivation of cannabis as an alternative crop should be legally allowed as fruit crops have been facing weather vagaries every year. Also, the stiff competition from the imported cheaper apples has severely hit their earnings.

Due to the 'high-pitch' demand of growers, and more importantly, with the state reeling under the heavy financial debt trap of more than Rs 75,000 crore, the Congress government led by first-time Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu is mulling over the controlled cultivation of hemp for medicinal purposes to economic boom, mainly to strengthen the rural economy, as well as moving business away from illicit sellers.

Experts told IANS the selective cultivation of cannabis could annually generate a revenue of Rs 800 to Rs 1, 000 crore.

They say there is a huge demand for opium, an extract of the poppy, in the pharmaceutical industry. Also, the climatic condition in the state is congenial for its cultivation.


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