It is not justifiable that a poor country like ours has to treat cannabis as a drug: Birodh Khatiwada

May 2, 2022

“It is not justifiable that a poor country like ours has to treat cannabis as a drug. Our people are being punished and our corruption increases because of smuggling as we follow decisions of developed countries that are now doing as they please.” – Birodh Khatiwada, Health Minister, Nepal.

It should be noted that:
Half a century ago, thousands of people around the world used to come to Kathmandu to buy marijuana from the government-licensed stores on ‘Freak Street’ – Basantapur, Kathmandu. Nepali cannabis was considered one of the best in the world.
Nepal closed its marijuana businesses in 1973, now lawmakers are seeking to lift a cultivation ban to create a new export revenue stream. The Ministry of Health and Population is preparing to approve research on marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The Hippie Trail:
In the 1960s, the Hippie Trail began to route young Western adventurers through Nepal. The stable traditional cannabis economy was rocked by the influx of demand, and the heavy usage by visitors normalized and made cannabis consumption trendy locally. The increased demand and linkage to outside markets led to an increase in hashish production, and smuggling routes were established through India and the wider world.

In 1973, Nepal canceled the licenses of all cannabis shops, dealers, and farmers, under pressure from the United States and the international community. However, personal cultivation and use were unaffected, and cannabis commerce continued illicitly. The loss of $100,000 in government revenues caused disruption, and later in the 1970s, attempts were made at crop substitution.