Vrinda Gupta


This article is written by Vrinda Gupta, a Second Year BA. LL.B. (Hons.) Student at Ideal Institute of Management and Technology (GGSIPU), Delhi.

Nowadays, weed is smuggled, transported, grown, and sold, and the drug industry is booming. Drug lords play with money day and night. More than 30 countries have already legalized cannabis for recreational and medical uses. Many people hold the perspective of legalizing cannabis in India, but this step comes with a lot of consequences on how it will impact India, as controlling it seems difficult due to corrupt politicians along with drug lords’ intention to play with the lives of the youth of India. This Article deals with an in-depth analysis of the topic, taking into regard the legal complications and taboo related with it. 


Marijuana — also called weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, etc. extracted from the dried flowers of cannabis sativa and is a greenish gray mixture. Some people smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints; in pipes, water pipes, or in blunts. For consuming marijuana, vaporizers are also increasingly used. Marijuana includes active ingredients like hash oil, hard amber and waxy budder in high doses which is extracted from specially tended female plants called sinsemilla and concentrated resins which is for stronger forms of marijuana. These resins are used both recreationally and medically. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana, responsible for most of the intoxicating effects, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The plant also contains more than 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.


Most of the weed is produced in the neighborhood of India. India is part of Golden Triangle, one of the largest producer and is adjacent to Golden Crescent which is an area in and around Afghanistan. Smuggling around Punjab is rampant due to corruption and lack of political will. Locally a good amount of weed is also produced.

Recently, On June 17, customs officials at the Delhi airport seized marijuana worth Rs 30 lakh hidden in computer servers and smuggled from the US. As for being a transit hub of the narcotics trade or for consumption Delhi has always been infamous.[1] Drugs, worth Rs100 crore are consumed in the National capital every month.

Trains are also being used for smuggling banned products, Officials said. On July 10, officials seized 100 cartons of cigarettes worth Rs 1.5 crore illegally brought in a Covid special train to New Delhi Railway Station. The officers of Delhi Customs (Preventive) intercepted two consignments that had arrived at Delhi’s new courier terminal (NCT), air cargo complex, from the US. The consignor had declared both the consignments having 256 GB level 3 computer server, weighing around 14.5 kgs each.  Customs officials on Wednesday seized marijuana worth Rs 30 lakh here while it was being smuggled into the country from the US. Marijuana worth approximately USD 5 million which was about 3,346 pounds was trying to be smuggled into the US from Canada by an Indian national who was later arrested.[2]


While many countries have decriminalized the use and possession of cannabis, abandoning prison sentences for consumers, various countries have fully legalized marijuana.


Lenient laws were made in Brazil in 2006. An individual caught with marijuana possession may have to undergo community service and drug education programs and is not punishable by a jail term,

  1. USA

In the USA marijuana for recreational purposes has been legalized in states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington etc. 14 states have not legalized it but have decriminalized simple possession of marijuana. Most of these states impose penalties such as a civil fine, possessing larger amounts and selling remains illegal.


Since 2001, medical marijuana has been legal in Canada. Canada became the second country to fully legalize possession and recreational use of weed in the year 2018.

  1. SPAIN

Smoking weed privately or growing for private consumption is allowed, but selling drugs is illegal.


Since 2018, Growing marijuana for private consumption and private use of cannabis is legal in South Africa. Apart from this, several European countries such as Austria, Britain, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia have also legalized cannabis for medicinal use. Some Latin American countries like Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru have also legalized the medicinal use of marijuana.[3]


THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT, 1985 gives definition and rules of marijuana. Under Section.2(3) [4] of the Act defines cannabis. There were many cases which were contrary to the law as well as with the Act like:

Birendra Kumar Rai v. Union Of India[5] Smt. Kusum Kesi v. State Of U.P[6], Mabia Bibi And Ors. v. State Of West Bengal [7], Sewa Ram And Ors. v. State [8], Omkar Gupta vs State Of Chhattisgarh [9]and many more.

What is illegal according to the Act is engaging in the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transportation, warehousing, concealment, use or consumption, import inter-State, export inter-State, import into India, export from India or transshipment.

Punishment prescribed in the Section 20 of the Act is:

Rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years and which may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees and which may extend to two lakh rupees: If caught with commercial quantity (more than 20 kg).

Rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees: If caught with less than 20 kg but more than small quantity.

Rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both: If caught with small quantities.


Commercialization could be dangerous[10]. Yale University conducted medical research on cannabis for several decades, and urged India to carefully weigh the risks which can come with legalization as with legalization comes commercialization. We can see what we have seen with tobacco and alcohol over the last century and continue to see. Despite knowledge of the risks of smoking, cigarettes remain legal and the tobacco industry continues to thrive.

It’s important to make a distinction between legalization, decriminalization and commercialization. The goal of commercialization is to sell as much of the product, and the cannabis industry is steadily growing in the U.S. Commercial entities also understand that targeting the young assures them lifelong customers. Ice creams, sweets, and even soft-drinks are becoming available as a new array of cannabis products.


In India, weed is smuggled, it is grown, transported and sold and in this major role is played by corrupt officers and politicians which are associated with drug lords. More than 30 countries have already legalized cannabis for recreational and medicinal uses and there is no reason for prohibition of cannabis plants and it has to be legalized soon. It has intense benefits of health care, safer intoxicants and moreover farmer empowerment.

In India, you can only consume marijuana in the form of bhang. The laws related to drugs make marijuana consumption in the form of bhang legal which is also a loop hole in the law.

As we can see the West is now legalizing cannabis and other drugs. In India a section of people are demanding the same, but India should carefully consider all the risks and consider alternatives.

[1] India Today, “Illegal drug business booms as Delhi-NCR unlocks”  (July 16, 2020, 2:20 AM), URL: https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/illegal-drug-business-booms-as-delhi-ncr-unlocks-1701033-2020-07-16            

[2] The Tribune, “Indian man arrested for smuggling 3,346 pounds of marijuana into US” (August 15, 2020, 10 AM), URL: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/diaspora/indian-man-arrested-for-smuggling-3-346-pounds-of-marijuana-into-us-10039

[3]Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty, “Is smoking weed legal in India? Know these laws!” Lawrato (December 13, 2019) URL: https://lawrato.com/indian-kanoon/criminal-law/is-smoking-weed-legal-in-india-know-these-laws-2749


[5] AIR 1993 SC 962

[6] AIR 2013. Allahabad High Court

[7] (1992) 1 CALLT 34 HC

[8] 1992 CriLJ 2929

[9] AIR 2020, Chattisgarh High Court

[10] The Hindu, “The risks of legalising cannabis” (August 22,2019,1.29 PM), URL: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-risks-of-legalising-cannabis/article29216035.ece