Lawmakers from Nepal’s ruling Communist Party have introduced legislation to legalize cannabis, the Associated Press reports. Birod Khatiwada, a member of the party, said the country’s terrain is suitable for cannabis cultivation and would be a boon to the agricultural economy.
“Legalizing marijuana will help the poor farmers and since most of the Western world, which was reason for making it illegal in the first place, have already ended the prohibition, Nepal should also lift the ban.” — Khatiwada, to the AP
The legislation, which is backed by 46 Communist lawmakers, would also ban the import of alcohol, according to the Press Trust of India.
“Marijuana has multiple uses,” Khatiwada, who represents the region that produces the most cannabis in Nepal, said in the PTI report. “It also helps earn foreign currencies and produce medicines.”
Gokul Baskota, spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communications Technology, said the government had yet to take any steps on the measure, which must be debated on and approved by Parliament.
Cannabis has been banned in Nepal since 1973, around the same time that anti-cannabis laws took hold throughout the world. The lawmakers argue that over 65 countries – including the U.S., Canada, and Germany, who led the movements for cannabis prohibition in the 1970s – have already legalized it.
Canada legalized cannabis for adults in 2018, while Germany approved federal medical cannabis legalization in 2017. Federally, the U.S. continues its ban on all cannabis use; however, 33 U.S. states have legalized medical cannabis and 11 states and Washington D.C. have legalized its use for adults.
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