December 4: It has been ten months since a motion of public interest was registered in parliament for removing the legal restrictions on the use of cannabis in Nepal. However, the parliament has not held any discussion regarding the issue.
The proposal for farming cannabis was registered in the parliament in late February by the leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party. The draft bill is gathering dust because it does not fall on the priority list of parliament.
Lawmaker Sher Bahadur Tamang, a member of parliament representing the ruling party, says that the bill must be endorsed by the winter session of parliament.
“This issue was in the backburner due to coronavirus and budget announcement but it shouldn’t be ignored anymore,” says Tamang.
MP Tamang further said that Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota has already made a commitment to forward the bill for discussion and therefore he is assured that new laws will come into effect soon.
At a time when production and distribution of cannabis has been banned in Nepal, the United Nations has removed cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs.
The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs on Wednesday (December 2) voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from a category of the world's most dangerous drugs. The Vienna-based UN agency said in a statement that it had voted 27-25, with one abstention, to follow the World Health Organization's recommendation. Nepal also voted in favour of removing cannabis from the list.
The WHO has recommended medicinal use of marijuana and scientific research of cannabis.
The WHO has recommended removal of cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Until now, cannabis had been listed with heroin and several other opioids.
The agency voted to leave cannabis and cannabis resin on the list of Schedule I drugs, which also include cocaine, morphine, opium and painkiller sold as OxyContin.
Although Nepal has now signed the new convention, the Narcotic Drugs Control Act 2033 still categorizes cannabis as harmful drugs of strong nature.
After cannabis was banned in Nepal, India’s product flourished in the international market. So, there was pressure for Nepal not to lift the ban.