Decriminalization of Narcotics: The Samurai Way by Vivek Yadav | Know your Law (Law for Common Man)

Meaning of Narcotics drugs
An addictive drug which affects mood and behaviour which induces drowsiness, stupor or insensibility and relieves pain and makes habitual intake psychologically.
The Law
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (Click Here) which is commonly known as the NDPS act. It is an act in which the Parliament of India prohibits a person to produce, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store and consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. NDPS bill, 1985 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 23rd August 1985. The President Gianni Zail Singh gave the assent and this was passed by both Houses of Parliament on 16th September 1985, it came into action on 14th November 1985. This act has been amended thrice in 1988, 2001 and 2014. The act extended to the whole of India and it applies to all the Indian citizens outside India to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India. Narcotics Control Bureau was set up on March 1986. The act was designed to fulfil India’s Treaty obligation under:
  1. Single convention on Narcotic Drugs
  2. Convention on Psychotropic Substances
  3. United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance.
Earlier there was no legislation regarding narcotics in India until 1985. Cannabis smoking has been known since 2000 BC. It was first mentioned in Atharvaveda. Indian Hemp drug commission and Indo-British study of cannabis usage in India appointed in 1893, found that the use of this drug in moderate quantity is not practically attended by no evil results at all. It does not produce any injurious effect on the mind and no moral injury. Cannabis and its derivatives were legally sold in India until 1985. Ganja and Charas were considered by upper class Indians as the poor class intoxicant, although the rich consume Bhang during Holi. The United States began to campaign worldwide law against all drugs. Adoption of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. However, India withstood with American pressure to make cannabis illegal for nearly 25 years, the American pressure increase in the 1980s and in 1985. Rajiv Gandhi’s Government succumbed and enacted the NDPS Act, banning all narcotic drugs in India.
  1. The contravention involves a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extended to 1 year, or with a fine which may extended to 10,000 or both
  2. The contravention involves a commercial quantity greater than small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to Rs. 1 lakh.
  3. The contravention involves a commercial quantity with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but may extend to 20 years and also a fine which shall not be less than Rs. 1 lakh and can extend to Rs. 2 lakh.
The table below lists the current definition of a small quantity and a commercial quantity for some popular drugs.

Small quantity
Commercial quantity
2 grams (0.071 oz)
50 grams (1.8 oz)
100 grams (3.5 oz)
1 kilogram (2.2 lb)
2 grams (0.071 oz)
100 grams (3.5 oz)
1 kilogram (2.2 lb)
20 kilograms (44 lb)
5 grams (0.18 oz)
250 grams (8.8 oz)
2 milligrams (0.031 gr)
100 milligrams (1.5 gr)
2 grams (0.071 oz)
50 grams (1.8 oz)
5 grams (0.18 oz)
250 grams (8.8 oz)
25 grams (0.88 oz)
2.5 kilograms (5.5 lb)

It is used mainly for pain relief, and hence they are also known as narcotic analgesics. Best narcotics are Opiates compounds found or derived from opium. Opium is obtained as the dried milky juice of seed pods of the opium poppy. Drugs with actions similar to morphine that is produced synthetically are known as opioids.
The invention of Hypodermic Needle in the mid 19th century allowed morphine to be administered by injection, through injection it has more effect than taking it orally. However, the availability of morphine injections led to the serious problem of abuse, and laws were introduced to control the use, production, trade of narcotics and other dangerous drugs. In 1898 Heroine or Diacetylmorphine, was developed from morphine by Bayer Company in Germany. Heroine is 5-10 times as potent as morphine itself and is used by more narcotic addicts.

Most effective theory for narcotic addicts involves the synthetic opiate Methadone, which itself is addictive, blocks the addict’s craving for heroin and provide no disruptive euphoric effects of its own.
Medically narcotics are the most powerful painkillers available, but they are used with great cautions because of their addictive properties. It not only reduce pain but also seems to reduce suffering, fear and panic. As terminal cancer patient often do not have long to live and the provision of acceptance quality of life maybe paramount issue.
l  They cannot eliminate the pain. They have the side effects of possibly causing nausea, vomiting, itchiness and/or constipation.

Why it should be Decriminalize?
The law should treat a drug addict as a patient, not as criminals. Heroin replaced opium, cocaine replaced cannabis, and so on. As the drug business involves huge profit, it is creating more rivals and starting gang wars, it promotes ruthless and aggressive marketing, thus pushing more and more people into the drug world. Consequently, the petty traditional drug users are turning to the easily available and aggressively marketed more addictive and dangerous street drugs.
In some of the developed country like the USA, the Marijuana has been legalized, which ultimately results in less drug abuse. The possibility of same may be explored in India. Marijuana should be legalized for medical use especially for the purpose of cancer.
Earlier USA was the country which has started the War Against Drug and now out of 50 states 29 has legalize marijuana for medical use. This has led to increased revenues, reduced crime rates, lesser drug-related arrest.
While the world, from Coca-Cola to Corona, appropriates our tropical plant and basically bhang, making billions in the process, we have no political, moral and judicial stand on it. We have given up all claims on what was our own for millennia. Instead, we have decided to channel our energies into cow-dung soap and cow urine shampoo, now available on Amazon, but unlikely to spawn a global market like Cannabis Indica. Looks like the sleeping giant will continue to sleep, at least in India.
As always in India, once a ban is put in place, it stays in place. There is no rolling back, even as the countries originally responsible for these bans evolve, revoke and move forward. (The war on drugs, meanwhile, after squandering billions of dollars and taking hundreds of thousands of lives, is widely considered a failure.) The benefits of marijuana are many. It’s a sleep aid, appetite enhancer, anxiety and pain reliever. It has brought immense relief to the terminally ill. It’s also a muscle relaxant, aiding and speeding recovery from body-breaking fevers like chikungunya. (I can vouch for this from experience.) And as more legal research is done into it, more medically proven benefits are bound to surface. Bharat was always aware of it. Our sadhus and gods smoked it. No Mahashivratri is complete without a good chillam and no Holi is completed without drinking bhang. 

Mr. Vivek Yadav is a Student Editor at MyLawman, who can be reached at [email protected] alert-info

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