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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Expressing resentment over Odisha government's decision to uphold illegality of cannabis (ganja), former BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy today termed it as short sightedness in the vision of the State government.

Demanding decriminalisation of ganja farming, Satpathy said that the plant has medicinal properties and will help small farmers. "I am not in favour of legalisation of cannabis cultivation but it should be decriminalised as medicines for cancer and other respiratory diseases are prepared from it. The cultivation can also help small farmers in Odisha," said the former MP.

Citing that ganja cultivation has been made legal in Uttarakhand, Satpathy reiterated it should also be taken up in Odisha and if required, export medicinal marijuana products to other States.

Speaking about people using the plant to enter a state of intoxication, Satpathy said, "Many youths drink cough syrups to get high but that doesn't mean the product should be banned."

Earlier in the day, Excise Secretary Sushil Lohani informed that farmers will not get permission for hemp (cannabis/ganja) cultivation and the practice would still remain illegal in the State.

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