India has got a long history with Cannabis, may be as early as 2000 BCE. Mention of Bhanga is evident in many Vedic scriptures as old as 1000 CE.
India was really firm on its decision of keeping Marijuana legal even after International criticism and pressure. Indian removed the “The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs” treaty of 1961 for classifying Cannabis as hard drugs and also for showing utter disrespect towards Social and Religious values of India by the treaty. India was not powerful as its today during that period to go against the World superpowers. Therefore, it had to succumb to the international pressure to criminalize Marijuana.
The Portuguese(1534) and British(1894) did their individual studies on Cannabis consumption and its benefits during their rule over India. Later on after the studies concluded, marijuana or ganja consumption was moderately in use during the British rule. Later on the focus shifted on something very important, World War 1 1914–1918, during this period all the countries were busy trying to form allies and prepare for another war if it was to happen. It was all hush hush and no one really paid attention to any drugs, let alone legalization of Marijuana.
There were multiple attempts to criminalize marijuana under the British rule in 1838, 1871, and 1877, still India had other major problems than to worry about Marijuana. Excess of cultivation and being one of the surplus commodity, marijuana was taken for granted in India. Only to realize after a decade of its importance both Medically and Economical.
31 million people in India ,about 2.8% of its population according to government’s own estimate have reported having used some form of cannabis in 2018. A study by Seedo an Israel-based firm that sells devices to grow weed at home, reported Delhi alone consuming 32.38 metric tons of cannabis in 2018 , mentioned a News Agency.
If the news around the alleged death by suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput is anything to go by, cannabis or its resin (hash) and flowers (weed) is the epitome of evil. The only paradox is that until 35 years ago, this view of the indigenous plant and its psychotropic by-products was not viewed as a crime. And Indians have been smoking up for thousands of years before that.