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Implications and Penal Provisions of Marijuana Possession

Updated: Jan 18


Marijuana also is known as cannabis, which is a psychotropic drug used for medical as well as recreational purposes. Although the drug has a rare use in the medical field, it is illegally consumed in large numbers in forms of edibles, smoking, and raw eating. It controls the part of the brain which is related to memory, posture, attention, and coordination. People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder feel more relaxed and relieved after consuming the drug, thus having some benefits in neurological sciences. The main reason for its illegal consumption is the release of dopamine in the body which gives a pleasant feel. In India, the possession of drugs is allowed only for medical purposes and can only be sold from legally authorized stores.

Impact of consuming Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the world’s commonly consumed drugs in one form or the other with over 125 million consumers. Section 2(iii) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 states that Cannabis consists of Charas which is separated as resin from the plant, the fruiting tops of plants without seeds and leaves are known as Marijuana (Ganja). The reason for marijuana being an illegal drug is because it is a Class 1 drug; there is no medical use of the drug, but it has the potential for high abuse and severe side-effects.

Marijuana is consumed in such a high number, especially among youngsters. It has serious side effects that can result in brain damage that could decrease one’s learning ability. This drug intake can lead to assault or harassment and sexual harassment becomes more prominent after this drug intake as there is no control over the mind of the person. There are several Cases filed in India contending the intentional use of marijuana by the accused to make the victim unconscious to commit the crime upon such a victim. Smoking of marijuana directly affects the lungs, but all these activities are illegal and can only be made possible with people possessing and selling the drug illegally.

Case laws related to drug intake and possession

In Sajani W/O. Ramakrishna Khatai V. The State of Maharashtra[1] It was proven that the lady had possession of 6.200 kgs of Marijuana which was less than the commercial quantity, who was trying to export it but was caught ultimately while traveling in train. Another 12 bags were also found from the same train but she was not accused of it due to the lack of evidence against her. The accused was punished under section 20 of the NDPS Act for possession and exporting Marijuana and was given 2 years of rigorous imprisonment.

In Harish vs The State of Madhya Pradesh, it was found that the accused had possession of 16.20 kgs of Marijuana, who subsequently got arrested. A case was charged against him, where the accused was found guilty and was punished under Section 20 of the NDPS Act,1985.

Penal provisions regarding Marijuana possession

Section 20 of the NDPS Act provides rigorous imprisonment for illegal possession, purchase, import/export, cultivation, or any usage of drugs:

  • If there is illegal cultivation then he/she will be liable for ten-years imprisonment or a fine of one lakh rupees or both.

  • A fine of ten thousand rupees or one-year imprisonment is given in case of a small quantity of possession, and one lakh rupees with ten years imprisonment is given for normal possession.

  • One lakh to two lakh rupees fine with imprisonment of ten years is given if the possession is at a commercial level.

Although the punishment stated above can vary from different states, some states extend the punishment for 2 years for the possession of even a small quantity. Since bhang is not formed from Cannabis, section 20 does not apply for the consumption or possession of bhang. The reason behind the illegal selling of marijuana is its natural unchecked growth in the wild in several states.

In India, Marijuana selling was legal until it was banned Marijuana under American pressure. Legalizing marijuana will increase its utilization especially among youngsters and children, which could eventually destroy their life.


Marijuana is a world-renowned addictive drug which creates hallucination. Its possession is illegal in India as it can affect the body and brain of the person. Although it is an illegal drug, it is still sold and purchased in India at high rates. Himachal Pradesh alone produces 60,000 kgs of Marijuana illegally, out of which only 1% of the Marijuana has been captured. The drug can be used in alternative ways of harassing, abusing, or even killing a person.


Udipti Chopra is a second-year student at Delhi Metropolitan Education.

They can be contacted at uditpti.lass@gmail.com

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.


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