Is Cannabis legal in India?

The cannabis situation in India is a bit complicated, and like the United States, it can be divided into states that have legalized it and states that have not. However, recreational marijuana is generally illegal in India.

For the marijuana situation in India, you need to know about the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) enacted in 1985.

The NDPS defines cannabis in a similar way to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty that banned the sale and production of cannabis resin and flower crowns, but did not establish any regulations regarding cannabis leaves and seeds.

Recently, there have been several moves to legalize marijuana again, indicating that even conservative India is actively working to lift the ban on marijuana.

Medical cannabis in India

The NDPS, enacted in 1985, does not completely prohibit the use of cannabis, but states in an affidavit submitted by the Director, Narcotics Control Division, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance that cannabis can be used for medical and chemical purposes with the necessary permission from the respective state governments.

It is said that since the NDPS clearly separates each part of the hemp plant, not all parts should be restricted as marijuana in a single category.

In 2015, there is a movement that marijuana should be legalized, with meetings on medical marijuana being held in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune by an organization called Great Legalisation Movement India.

In 2017, the legalization of medical marijuana was proposed on the grounds of reducing drug abuse and helping cancer patients. A week later, it issued the first license to grow marijuana for research purposes.

In 2020, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was passed to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the 1961 Convention.

After 2020, the state government in Himachal Pradesh has a policy to allow controlled cultivation of cannabis, and the Tripura government is meeting to achieve cannabis legalization.

Regulations and policies differ from state to state, and the situation is complex, but it is clear that steady progress is being made toward the legalization of marijuana.

Regulations by Region

In India, regulations on marijuana vary by region and state.

The NDPS, enacted in 1985, allows the consumption of bhang, but the sale, purchase, and consumption of ganja and bhang are prohibited in the state of Assam.

Bhang- is a relatively popular cannabis product in India that is mixed with food or drink for taste or medicinal purposes.

Bhang- is often used religiously for intoxication, and bhang- is given out at Hindu festivals in India and Nepal.

Bhang- is made by grinding cannabis flowers and leaves into a paste to which milk and spices are added. When this paste is added to thandai (a milk-based drink), it becomes an alcohol-like beverage called bhang thandai or bhang lassi.

CBD is legal

CBD is legal in India as long as it does not contain 0.3% THC.

India legalized the use of CBD for medical purposes in 2018.

The legalization of CBD has increased the demand for CBD products, but there are still no clear regulations or certification requirements for CBD products, and it is not known if the quality of CBD products sold is true.

In India, you can purchase CBD oil and other CBD products by presenting a prescription from an Ayurvedic doctor.

What you should know before going to India

There have been cases of people being arrested for possession and smuggling of marijuana in India.

When visiting India, do not bring marijuana or CBD products into the country.

Even if you have a medical marijuana permit or other permit for medical use in your country, you are not allowed to use it in India. Possession of marijuana carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.


We have introduced the marijuana situation in India.

To understand the cannabis situation in India, it is necessary to know the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which was enacted in 1985. The cannabis situation in India is a bit complicated, as some states have legalized cannabis.

Recently, there have been various moves toward the legalization of marijuana, and it is possible that marijuana will be legalized in the next few years.

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