KATHMANDU, March 3: A private bill was registered at parliament on Monday proposing legalizing the farming, processing, trade and export of marijuana in the country. Former law minister Sher Bahadur Tamang registered the bill at the parliament secretariat proposing to “legalize the farming of marijuana for commercial use keeping in view its economic benefits for the country.”
The existing law bars the farming, trade and use of marijuana in the country except for medical use based on the prescription from a doctor. However, the bill doesn’t propose to legalize the consumption of marijuana in the country except for the use in medication.
According to the Narcotic Drugs Control Act (1976), the farming of marijuana could land the farmer at least three months to three years in jail with monetary penalties. The consumption of marijuana could land one a month in jail under the existing law.
Nepal, once popular for marijuana, banned the farming, production, consumption and trade of marijuana and cannabis in 1973 listing it under the narcotic drugs following pressure from the Western countries.
According to officials, Kathmandu used to be a popular destination for western hippies for the consumption of marijuana in the 1960s until the government banned it.
In the bill former minister Tamang has stated that Nepal has the potential of producing high quality marijuana which has high demand for medicinal use. The bill also states that cannabis plant can also be used for making clothes and furniture.
The preamble of the bill reads that legalization of marijuana farming and trade could leave a positive impact on social, economic and geographical values of the country. The bill has envisioned a board for the purpose of monitoring and regulation of farming, production and trade of marijuana in the country.