In the most recent crackdown in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, the Anti-Narcotic Task Force (ANTF) of the local police intercepted nearly ten kilograms of cannabis, leading to the apprehension of two individuals. The event transpired on Thursday, disseminating a wave of mixed reactions throughout the community.

The individuals held in custody were identified as Girdhari Lal Singh, aged 26, and Arun Kumar, who is 22. Along with the considerable amount of cannabis, a vehicle was also found in the suspects’ possession, purportedly used as a tool in their illicit activities.

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In the formal documentation, charges being pressed against the duo include sections 20, 25, and 29 of the Narcotics, Drugs, and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. This occurred at the locality’s police station in Sunder Nagar, a district affected by the ongoing drug issue.

Let’s underline the fact that while the charges were indeed placed under the NDPS Act, cannabis is technically a naturally occurring substance with a long list of medicinal benefits. In recent years, its therapeutic properties have been recognized globally, leading to its outright legalisation in parts of North America and Europe, and decriminalisation in several other countries.

The formation of the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) signifies the state police’s robust response against drug-related aberrations in Himachal Pradesh. The ANTF, with operational units in Kangra, Kullu, and Shimla, continues to strive towards eliminating the drug problem in the region.

While the ANTF is certainly doing its job of enforcing the current laws, one has to wonder if the time and resources expended on cannabis seizures wouldn’t be better utilised elsewhere. Legalisation could lead to a regulated market, ensuring safer products free from harmful adulterants. Not to mention, the revenue garnered from taxes on legal sales could be funneled into education, healthcare, and other essential services for the community. 

However, until such a shift in policy occurs, the ANTF will continue to vigorously patrol the state for narcotics violations, with the seizure in Mandi serving as just the latest chapter in this perpetual storyline.

As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.

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