Is Weed or Marijuana Legal in India?

Explore the legal status of weed and marijuana in India, from historical context to current laws and regulations. Get insights into the debate surrounding legalization, medical use, and the future of cannabis in the country.
Is Weed or Marijuana Legal in India?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. The History of Cannabis in India

  3. Current Laws and Regulations

  4. Medical Marijuana in India

  5. The Debate on Legalization

  6. The Future of Cannabis in India

  7. Conclusion


India has a long and complex history with cannabis, a plant that has been cultivated and consumed in the country for centuries. This article will delve into the legal status of weed and marijuana in India, as well as the ongoing debates surrounding its legalization, medical use, and future prospects.

The History of Cannabis in India

Cannabis has been used in India for thousands of years, both for recreational and medicinal purposes. It has played a significant role in Ayurvedic medicine and has cultural and religious significance, particularly in the Hindu religion. It is commonly consumed during the festival of Holi as an intoxicating drink called 'Bhang.'

Current Laws and Regulations

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 is the primary legislation governing the possession, sale, and consumption of drugs in India. Under the NDPS Act, the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis resin (charas) and the buds (ganja) are illegal. However, the leaves of the plant, which are used to make 'Bhang,' are not covered by the Act, creating a legal gray area.

Medical Marijuana in India

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential benefits of medical marijuana. Although the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is not explicitly legal in India, the government has taken steps to research its potential applications in treating various medical conditions, such as epilepsy and cancer.

The Debate on Legalization

The question of whether to legalize marijuana in India has been a topic of heated debate in recent years. Proponents argue that legalization would create a new industry, generate revenue through taxation, and reduce drug-related crime. Critics, however, contend that it could lead to increased substance abuse and have negative social consequences.

The Future of Cannabis in India

As attitudes towards cannabis change around the world, with several countries legalizing its use for medical and recreational purposes, the future of marijuana in India remains uncertain. The ongoing debate will likely continue, and the possibility of further legislative changes should not be ruled out.


While the consumption of cannabis has deep historical and cultural roots in India, its current legal status is complex and largely restrictive. As the global landscape shifts and the debate on marijuana legalization in India continues, it will be interesting to see how the country's relationship with cannabis evolves in the coming years.

Subhash Ahlawat
Subhash Ahlawat
Apr 23
5 min read