KATHMANDU, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Forty four years after Nepal banned cannabis, a serious effort has been made to lift the ban on the product in the Himalayan country.
Sher Bahadur Tamang, a lawmaker from the ruling Nepal Communist Party on Monday registered a bill at the Nepal's parliamentary secretariat with the provision of legalizing cannabis for production, sales, medical use and scientific research.
Nepal's Narcotics Drugs Control Act 1976 has criminalized the sale, cultivation and consumption of cannabis.
"The main reason behind registering the bill to legalize the cultivation and sales of cannabis is that it has proved to be a medicinal plant and it can also contribute to increasing income of Nepali farmers massively," Tamang, who is also former law minister, told Xinhua on Monday.
"An increasing number of countries have been legalizing its production and sales due to its benefits."
He said that the developed countries like Canada and many U.S. states have already legalized it.
The bill registered under the name "Cannabis Farming (Management) Act" has proposed for its controlled production and sales in the market.
The bill has proposed that people who want to engage in farming, transportation, sales and exports, should take license from the government authority.
"But, it will not be necessary to take permission to produce textile, feed and oil among others from its fibers and fruits," the bill states. The bill has proposed an age limit for engaging in the farming of cannabis. "A person below 18 years cannot engage in cannabis farming," it says.
The bill has further proposed that the Nepali government would have to fix areas where its farming can be done and maximum area a farmer can cultivate cannabis. As per the bill, the farmers can sell the product to a certain agency or firm as recommended by its regulatory agency.
The bill has proposed that the product can be sold to an individual as per the prescription of a doctor. "It cannot be sold to a person whose age is less than 21 years and to a pregnant woman," the bill says.
Lawmaker Tamang registered a bill as private bill. If passed by the both houses of parliament - House of Representatives and National Assembly, it will become a law.