File photo: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant.(PTI)
File photo: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant.(PTI)

‘Not interested’: Goa CM scuttles proposal to allow cannabis cultivation

Speaking to the media on Wednesday evening, Sawant said that “the Goa government is not interested in going ahead with this proposal”.
By Gerard de Souza | Edited by Sparshita Saxena | Hindustan Times, Panaji
UPDATED ON DEC 30, 2020 11:59 PM IST

A day after it became known that the Goa government was actively examining a proposal to allow the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, chief minister Pramod Sawant shot down the proposal saying his government was not interested in pursuing it.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday evening, Sawant said that “the Goa government is not interested in going ahead with this proposal”.

“The Indian Institute of Integrative medicine, a premier Government of India agency, had sent us a proposal... We had sent it for examination to different departments. It does not mean we are going for cannabis cultivation,” Sawant said.

The proposal was vetted by the Goa law department, with law minister Nilesh Cabral saying that he was in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes only.

On Tuesday, while the proposal received the vocal support of a section of the ministers in the Goa government, Sawant appeared ambiguous claiming that “just because the file has moved, it didn’t mean a decision has been taken.”

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The opposition Goa Forward Party had hit out at the government for what it said was the promotion of Goa as a ‘vices hub.’

“How will they handle the law and order crisis that will consequently emerge from the legalisation of cannabis cultivation, who will be the watchdog to ensure that it is for medicinal purpose only? And if the watchdog himself starts accepting bribes to allow it to be pilfered and the young generation gets access to it, the future generations will get access just so that they can fill their pockets,” Sardesai had said.

No sooner Sawant announced that the government was not interested in pursuing the proposal, Sardesai claimed victory.

The proposal was expected to meet with resistance from within the cabinet leaving hopes of it making it to the Goa Legislative Assembly slim.

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