Experts suggest erasure of bottlenecks for marijuana cultivation

KATHMANDU, JUNE 7: After the government announced that it would make legal arrangements for the cultivation of marijuana, policymakers and researchers have provided views to address the initial challenges.

Dr. Dipak Kumar Kharal, Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that the Narcotic Drug Control Act of 2033 must be amended to facilitate marijuana farming. “Legal hurdles need to be removed for it. A board can be formed, and fallow land utilized for marijuana farming,” he suggested.

He expressed these views during the meeting of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, cooperatives, and natural resources under the House of Representatives on Friday.

Similarly, Dr. Pradip KC, Director-General at the Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine Department of the Health Ministry, informed that several studies on marijuana had been conducted in the Ayurvedic field. He explained the medicinal value of the plant.

Prof. Dr. Panna Thapa, a researcher at Kathmandu University, informed that Nepal is home to various strains of marijuana. He suggested that the government should allow scientific research on it, adding that studies so far had indicated that marijuana could alleviate pain, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and cancer, among other ailments.

He also mentioned that garments and cosmetics could be made from marijuana, emphasizing the need to produce it in line with international standards and to create jobs for farmers.

However, Dr. Ananta Adhikari from the Mental Hospital expressed the view that although marijuana had medicinal value, it was equally important to remain aware of its negative impacts.

In a recent budget announcement, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun stated that the government would make legal arrangements for the commercial farming of marijuana.

The Finance Minister carried the budget document in a bag made of marijuana, conveying a message that commercial farming of the plant could be considered.

During the meeting, Secretary at the Home Ministry, Eknarayan Aryal, mentioned that a study was being conducted on the types of marijuana being cultivated in different places across the country. He added that a report on this matter would be released soon.

Former Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang suggested that commercial farming of marijuana should focus on farmers. “Farmers themselves should be encouraged for it, not others or corporations,” he insisted, adding that it would contribute to the national economy.