Guwahati: In spite of the taboo surrounding the usage of marijuana in India, there are some temples in Karnataka that offer the substance as 'prasad' to devotees.
As per the Sharana, Aruda, Shaptha, and Avadhuta traditions, which consider marijuana to be 'sacred', devotees consume cannabis in various forms, in their hope to achieve enlightenment.
The Mouneshwara temple at Tinthini in Yadgir district conducts an annual fair in January of each year where devotees are doled out small packets filled with ganja as 'prasad'. The devotees then smoke the prasad after praying to the devotee Mouneshwara or Manappa.
As per a member of the temple committee, Gangadhar Nayak, the devotees and saints believe that marijuana shows the path to enhancing knowledge of spirituality. During the fair, everybody is allowed to consume cannabis. While some of the devotees consume the ganja after boiling it, others consume it like tobacco powder. However, the temple authorities have vehemently denied that the cannabis is sold to outsiders for recreational purpose.
The Cannabis plant sees varied usage with its bud and the leaves. While weed (ganja) is made from the extract of Marijuana leaves, bud refers to smoking elements of the plant directly. The bud is extremely expensive, and costs around Rs. 4,000-5,000 per gram.
Although stigma over marijuana is still very much prevalent in India, certain countries like Canada and South Africa have legalized marijuana consumption for recreational purposes.
In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis are illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug.