Consumption of Marijuana in the form of Bhang during Holi and Shivaratri is very common in several parts of India.
Bhang is an edible preparation of Cannabis originating from the Indian subcontinent. It has been used in food and drink as early as 1000 BC in ancient India. It is used in many Hindu religious practices, rituals, and festivals, including the popular spring festival of Holi and Mahashivratri. It is made by drying, grinding, and soaking the buds and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant to form a paste that’s added to food and drinks. It can be consumed in different forms like Bhang lassi, a kind of milkshake, Buttered Bhang, and several dishes, but Bhang lassi is the most common drink consumed in India.
Cannabis is used as Bhang, which is legally available in many states, according to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s report. More number of people use Bhang as compared to Charas/ganja. Around 2.2 crore people in India consume Bhang, and 1.2 crore people consume Ganja.
Meanwhile, Bhang does not fall within the definition of Cannabis (hemp) as defined under Section 2 (iii) of the NDPS Act, 1985. The National Policy on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances acknowledges this fact and mentions that many state governments permit the ‘production and sale of Bhang, and the exclusion of Bhang from the purview of the NDPS Act, 1985, has remained a topic of discussion among medical and legal experts.