History of CBD and Cannabis: Nepal
Located in the Himalayas, Nepal is one of the most culturally, ethnically, and historically rich countries in the world. Due to the country’s strategic geographic location and humid climate, cannabis cultivation, trafficking, and use runs rampant throughout the entire country.
Although Nepalese officials have traditionally been lax on cannabis crime, decades of international pressure have resulted in a tense situation between local cultivators and law enforcement agencies.
Cannabis, CBD, and Nepal
Since the early seventies, cannabis has been illegal in Nepal for recreational, medical, and industrial use. Possession of even trace amounts of cannabis can result in serious prison time and hefty fines. However, this is rare in practice.
Despite the current legislation, cannabis penalties are rarely enforced by local law enforcement. It’s not uncommon to see residents in rural areas use cannabis openly in public spaces with no fear of legal repercussions. Ultimately, the Nepalese have been using cannabis for centuries and, despite the past fifty years of legal restriction, the compound continues to hold an important place in the country’s culture.
In the sixties, Nepal’s relatively open cannabis market caught the attention of Western hippies. Adventurers from the United States began to make their way to Nepal, hoping to try out local strains of cannabis.
The sudden influx of travelers caused a huge surge in local demand for cannabis, which caused an economic boom throughout the decade. Smuggling routes were fully established and widened throughout the rest of India in order to accommodate traveler’s demands.
Just a decade later, pressure from the United States to clamp down on the drug trade led to increasing restriction. At this time, the international community expressed strong reservations about the safety of cannabis, believing it could result in violence, laziness, and mental degradation.
The Nepal government responded by removing the licenses of all cannabis businesses, resulting in a sudden loss of over $100,000 USD in government revenue.
Now, the cannabis industry has continued to prosper and run just under the government’s notice. The marijuana industry continues to grow in size and strength throughout the entire country, especially considering that law enforcement has a tough time patrolling mountainous geographic areas.
It will be interesting to see if the government enacts legalization or decriminalization measures in the next few years. As Western nations are scaling back legal restrictions on cannabis, it’s more and more likely that nations like Nepal will reintroduce substantive reform.