Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - III (General Studies – II) - 22 October 2019

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-III: General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Q. What do you understand by Cannabis? Give reasons whether it should be legalized in India or not. (250 words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News?
  • Introduction
  • What is Cannabis?
  • Arguments in favour of legalizing Cannabis in India
  • Arguments against cannabis legalization in India
  • Conclusion

Why in News?

The Manipur state government has announced a plan to legalize cannabis, or marijuana, to enable its production for the units of companies using it as an ingredient for medicines or for other industrial purposes.

Introduction:

Cannabis is regarded as a widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug. In the present decade, cannabis abuse has grown more rapidly than cocaine and opiate abuse. Half of all drug seizures worldwide are cannabis seizures.

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a generic drug that comes from Indian hemp plants such as Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabis has psychoactive properties. Its potency depends on the content of its principal active constituent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), though cannabis contains more than 500 other chemicals.

Cannabis nowadays is more closely linked to youth culture and the age of initiation is usually lower than for other drugs. The cannabis market is much smaller than the opiate or cocaine market.

In India, there is a tradition of using cannabis in many religious contexts. Cannabis is also known as bhang, ganja, charas or hashish, is typically eaten (bhang golis, thandai, pakoras, lassi, etc.) or smoked (chillum or cigarette), drinking (tea), etc.

Arguments in favour of legalizing Cannabis in India:

  • It would help to boost the economy of Manipur tremendously.
  • The oil extracted from cannabis helps patients of paralysis to recover as it strengthens nerves.
  • Legalizing cannabis will also help to protect young people and may lower their consumption and addiction towards cannabis.
  • The cannabis plant not only has a tremendous amount of medicinal value but it also has huge potential for industrial usage. This can be tapped by legalizing its usage and prohibiting criminal organizations, which is currently organizing it.
  • Fabrics from cannabis plant are very famous in many countries.
  • It has potential of becoming a cash crop for poor marginal farmers. If cultivation of cannabis is encouraged at an official level, it can gradually become a source of income for poor people with small landholdings.
  • Legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes would help in creating new jobs. As was seen in Colorado, where 10,000 new jobs were created.

Arguments against cannabis legalization in India:

  • Cannabis, like other analgesics, can cause dependence and addiction.
  • Adolescents or younger users of cannabis may be more likely to develop mental health problems later in life. 
  • People feel nauseous, lethargic, forgetful, anxious, confused from consumption of cannabis.
  • The World Health Organization has listed a number of diseases associated with the consumption of cannabis, including impairment in cognitive functioning, airway injury, bronchitis and lung inflammation.
  • A new array of cannabis products in the form of ice creams, sweets, and even soft-drinks are becoming available in the countries where cannabis has been legalized. This is alluring and targeting the young users, who are assuring lifelong customers to the commercial entities dealing in cannabis.

Conclusion:

Many countries in the West have legalized cannabis but the potential risk of cannabis cannot be undermined. Its threat illustrates that it is better to regulate it rather than leaving it in the hands of the unregulated criminal market. The government should ensure that the drug is safely produced by competent farmers, packaged and tested in suitable facilities, and sold by reputable and licensed vendors.

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