Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Coronavirus has wreaked crisis all across the globe. The world is engrossed in the largest health crises. As difficult as it is to think about hemp legalisation at this point in time, the reality is that coronavirus is also impacting the cannabis industry. The COVID-19 crises may impact cannabis legalisation. In a CNBC report, the CEOs of Cannabis companies hinted that the federal legalization of cannabis would provide economic impetus through tax revenue and employment opportunities during the Covid-19 recovery. It is yet to be seen how much priority is given to the opinion.
The legalisation ask also stems from the benefits and medicinal properties of cannabis, which were recognised even in the ancient times. It has been called as one of the five sacred plants and the giver of joy in the Vedas. Well, while in the USA, Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 caused slow death of cannabis industry, India succumbed to building pressure of west in 1985. Cannabis has already made into mainstream media with various trials going on with its potency to treat coronavirus patient. Hemp, a close cousin of Cannabis, has already been commercialised for multiple uses and products.
At the time of its renaissance, it is crucial to make distinction between Cannabis legalisation, decriminalisation and commercialisation. The aims and goals of all three are different. The goal of commercialisation is to sell as much of the commodity as possible whereas the aim of legalising is to make hemp production permissible by law. The drug can do more good than harm. Its medicinal properties are gaining recognition all over the world. The legalisation of the hemp for recreational and industrial usage becomes crucial in such a scenario. To discuss it further, let us take note of its benefits:
1. On the economy:
Hemp can be used in place of cotton. Cotton has higher land and water utilisation. Additionally, hemp is a more versatile crop. Cannabis can be an additional cash crop that provides a means of living to the ones who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
As stated earlier, hemp has numerous medicinal uses. The pharmaceutical industry can utilize it to treat different conditions and diseases. Hemp can be used as a substitute for plastic and concrete. These two products are essential to our lifestyles but also are extremely toxic. As we begin to change our existing structures it is crucial to shift from toxic substances to reliable alternatives.
2. On Health:
Cannabis can be used to relieve pain of patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). A lot of medical curiosity revolves around how hemp can be used to treat cancer and coronavirus.
3. On the Climate:
Hemp can be used in place of concrete. Unlike concrete, hempcrete is pest resistant, fire resistant, steadies interior temperature, utilizes less energy and is carbon negative.
Bio-plastic and hemp paper have a potential to replace plastic and timber paper in a much more sustainable manner. Hemp paper can help in keeping a check on deforestation.
UN and IMF, two greatly revered international organisations forecast that the global recession due to the pandemic is inevitable. The market melt down has been triggered by the pandemic. As per an Economic Times piece, approximately 27 million people between the age group of 20-30 lost their jobs in the month of April. Add to that, the current unemployment rate in India is 27.1% (courtesy: CMIE report). More and more businesses are declaring bankruptcy with each passing day. Forbes states that, in such a situation, cannabis should be treated as an essential commodity, because the lives of thousands of patients depend upon it. Simply put, cannabis is a medicine, not just as cure against the virus, but also to save the slumping economy, and to regain societal balance.
Shared by Radhika Kukreja