Nearly 50 years after the United States government forced Nepal to ban the cultivation and use of cannabis, MP Sher Bahadur Tamang is on a crusade to have it legalised. The ban led to the impoverishment of Nepal’s poorest communities by eliminating this important cash crop. Driving it underground led to the formation of a police-politician nexus, and may have contributed to the rise of the Maoist insurgency decades later.
In this interview on the Saglo Samaj tv magazine program, Tamang tells host Kanak Mani Dixit how his Cannabis Cultivation (Management) Act could benefit Nepalis.
Kanak Mani Dixit: What led you to register the bill to allow the legalisation of marijuana?
Sher Bahadur Tamang: Throughout this campaign, we worked with many researchers and experts realised the great medicinal and economic value of cannabis. After feedback from the research team, we tabled this bill in Parliament. We believe this is one of the ways to alleviate rural poverty. It also comes at a time when there is a push internationally to legalise not just medicinal marijuana, and the use of the plant for many purposes, including recreational cannabis.