Bhubaneswar, Nov 19 (LocalWire): The state government today disallowed the proposal for commercial cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purpose.
‘An inter-departmental decision was taken not to go ahead with such activities,’ Sushil Kumar Lohani, the state’s excise secretary said here today.
Some pharmaceutical companies had sought assured supply of cannabis by government agencies by saying that it could be used as non-narcotic medicinal and nutritive products. They had cited the instances of other state governments who had permitted hemp cultivation, he said.
The government had sought law department’s opinion on it and the legality of allowing its cultivation.
However, the proposal was rejected outright with the law department saying that it’s not within the legal parameters to accord legal sanction for cannabis cultivation, the official said.
Eight districts – Kandhamal, Boudh, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiriand Nayagarh – are widely regarded as the epicentre of hemp or cannabis cultivation.
11,627.244 acres of land where hemp was planted, was destroyed last year. The government has set the target of destroying 8,000 acres of hemp plantation in 2019-20.
Hemp cultivation has emerged as a money-minting source of income. The poor living by the forest-side villages are often ensnared by middlemen and agents of drug-smuggling rackets. They are encouraged and funded to cultivate hemp by the racket.
With return from the hemp being more than 100-fold more than that of paddy cultivation, the poorer sections fall into the trap.
The yield from an acre of paddy cultivation will at best give annual return of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, while the return from hemp will be as high as Rs 10 lakh.