The Chief Minister of Gandaki Province in Nepal, Surendra Pandey, plans to legalize cannabis and domestic alcohol use to address agricultural challenges and generate income for rural women. He also aims to create employment opportunities in villages through local production industries to combat rural migration, emphasizing a balance between economic development and responsible usage.
The Chief Minister of Gandaki Province in Nepal, Surendra Pandey, has announced his intention to legalize cannabis and domestic alcohol use. Speaking at the third Jaimini festival in Kushmisera, within the municipality of Jaimini, Chief Minister Pandey emphasized the impending adoption, during the upcoming winter session, of a bill aimed at legalizing these substances.
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Addressing Agricultural Challenges in Nepal
He justified this move by addressing the agricultural problems caused by monkeys in Nepal: “These days, monkeys pose a significant challenge to agriculture, but it has been observed that cannabis cultivation remains untouched by monkeys and can be used for medicinal purposes.”
Ensuring Responsible Usage
Acknowledging concerns about potential misuse, he assured that regulations would be established to ensure that cannabis is used solely as a raw material in medicine and industry.
Legalization of Domestic Alcohol
The Chief Minister shed light on the finalization of a law regarding the labeling and legalization of domestic alcohol in Nepal. He highlighted that domestically produced and consumed alcohol, often produced clandestinely, serves as a source of income for women in these regions.
“We are preparing to address this issue during this provincial assembly session and move forward. We believe that resolving this matter will make the economic sector of our province sustainable,” he added.
Strengthening Legal Frameworks
To mitigate potential negative effects, Mr. Pandey asserted that legal frameworks would be strengthened to prevent abuse after the legalization of cannabis and domestic alcohol. He expressed reluctance to disrupt the livelihoods of women in the villages, ensuring that the proposed legislation would strike a balance between economic development and responsible usage.
Creating Employment Opportunities in Nepal
Mr. Pandey also emphasized the provincial government’s commitment to creating employment opportunities in Nepalese villages through the development of local production industries, partly to address rural migration.
“We are concerned about how we can create an employment-friendly environment by establishing local production and agricultural industries in the villages; if this is not possible, there is no way to stop village migration,” he emphasized.
The Chief Minister’s stance on the legalization of cannabis and domestic alcohol reflects a broader strategy to promote economic sustainability by recognizing the multifaceted challenges faced by rural communities in Nepal. As Gandaki Province prepares for the winter session, the proposed legislation could initiate a shift in Nepalese economic policy, aiming to balance tradition, livelihoods, and responsible development.
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