KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Lawmakers from ruling parties have proposed legalizing marijuana in Nepal, where it has been used for generations and was famous in the 60s of counterculture.
Forty-six members of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal submitted the proposal to parliament to legalize the production and use of marijuana, party legislator Birod Khatiwada said Monday.
He said that the mountainous terrain of the Himalayas is suitable for the crop and that poor farmers would benefit greatly if they were given the opportunity to grow it.
“Legalizing marijuana will help poor farmers. Since most of the western world, which was previously reason to make it illegal in the first place, had already ended the ban, Nepal should also lift the ban, ”said Khatiwada.
Debate and vote to follow
The proposal needs to be debated in Parliament before changes are made to existing legislation.
Nepal was famous for the use of marijuana and other drugs in the 1960s when hippies found their way to Nepal. Shops and tea houses advertised and then sold it legally.
Nepal made it illegal in 1976 with the Narcotic Drugs Control Act. Users are imprisoned for a month, while human traffickers can be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
Marijuana has been used in Nepal for generations. Although it is illegal, it is almost smoked freely during the festival of the Hindu god Shiva, which is scheduled for later this month.