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hempThe hill districts of Uttarakhand have been shrinkage in agriculture activities on account of migration, lack of irrigation, human-wildlife conflicts, complex geographical conditions, and frequent natural disasters. The report of the 'Rural Development & Migration Commission' which is constituted by the state government has found 375 villages in the state to have been abandoned and become ghost villages. In view of the above, new and innovative options of agriculture are constantly being considered by the state government to prevent migration from the hill districts, to make agriculture an attractive career option for the youth and to enhance incomes of rural communities. The promotion of 'Industrial Hemp' cultivation in the hilly areas is being seen as one such viable option.   

The Hemp plant grows abundantly in the Himalayan region and has been used traditionally for Fibers and seeds by local people in Uttarakhand. The climate of the state is favorable for the cultivation of 'Industrial Hemp' and as such decision has been taken by the Government of Uttarakhand to promote the cultivation of 'Industrial Hemp' in all 13 districts of the state by exercising the powers under Section 14 of the NDPS Act, 1985.

1. State government initiatives

2. Approval/Denial of the license application

District Magistrate shall grant or deny a license application after reviewing and ensuring all statutory and Policy requirements have been met, he may ask for District Excise inspector opinion on this matter.

District Administration is the appropriate authority to issue the license for the cultivation of Industrial Hemp for Seed and Fiber, the applicant can download the license application format in clicking this link.  

3. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

NDPS act, 1985 provides limited powers to state as per the cultivation of Cannabis is a concern. These are few cannabis specific sections which define the state powers in this context: 

CHAPTER III

PROHIBITION, CONTROL, AND REGULATION

Section 8. Prohibition of certain operations.—No person shall—

(a) cultivate any coca plant or gather any portion of coca plant; or

(b) cultivate the opium poppy or any cannabis plant; or

(c) produce, manufacture, possess, sell, purchase, transport, warehouse, use, consume, import inter-State, export inter-State, import into India, export from India or transship any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, except for medical or scientific purposes and in the manner and to the extent provided by the provisions of this Act or the rules or orders made thereunder and in a case where any such provision, imposes any requirement by way of license, permit or authorization also in accordance with the terms and conditions of such license, permit or authorization:

Provided that, and subject to the other provisions of this Act and the Rules made thereunder, the prohibition against the cultivation of the cannabis plant for the production of ganja or the production, possession, use, consumption, purchase, sale, transport, warehousing, import inter-State, and export inter-State of ganja for any purpose other than medical and scientific purpose shall take effect only from the date which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.

Section 10. Power of State Government to permit, control and regulate.—

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 8, the State Government may, by rules—

(a) permit and regulate—

(iii) the cultivation of any cannabis plant, production, manufacture, possession, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, sale, purchase, consumption or use of cannabis (excluding charas);

In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may—

(b) provide that the limits within which licenses may be given for the cultivation of any cannabis plant shall be fixed from time to time by or under the orders of the State Government;

(c) provide that only the cultivators licensed by the prescribed authority of the State Government shall be authorized to engage in the cultivation of any cannabis plant;

(d) require that all cannabis, the produce of land cultivated with the cannabis plant, shall be delivered by the cultivators to the officers of the State Government authorized in this behalf;

(e) empower the State Government to fix from time to time, the price to be paid to the cultivators for the cannabis delivered;

(f)   prescribe the forms and conditions of licenses or permits for the purposes specified in sub-clauses (i) to (vi) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) and the authorities by which such licenses or permits may be granted and the fees that may be charged therefor.

Sections 14 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 is, "Special provision relating to cannabis.—Notwithstanding anything contained in section 8, Government may, by general or special order and subject to such conditions as may be specified in such order, allow cultivation of any cannabis plant for industrial purposes only of obtaining fiber or seed or for horticultural purposes."