Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling in an official release declared that the state would no longer prosecute drug users, but somewhat treat them as patients to encourage treatment options rather utilizing the current punishment of incarceration and a fine. Nevertheless, traffickers and dealers will face even strident penalties.
Chamling besides said that in an attempt to engage youth he was processing to reach out to Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt to come to Sikkim and energize the message of resisting drug dependence.
These moves come at the moment when India is facing its own opioid epidemic. In 2017, ganja then hashish were the top two substances that were most popular in India followed by opium and then opium’s mean derivative, heroin. Even if Heroin may not available as in multitude as weed, but its use in India has experienced a sharp rise along with prescription opiate-based pills.
As India as a whole is working on to re-legalize cannabis, this move by Chamling in Sikkim to decriminalize all drugs is a step in a good direction. By setting an example of Portugal as an indicator, decriminalizing drug use leads to fewer cases of HIV/AIDS, fewer deaths and an improving relationship between the government and its people.
Even though the U.S. seems to be a long way far from decriminalizing drugs, there are ways to get involved and spread the message that incarceration for victimless crimes is not the answer. Sikkim is setting an example of by this action which promotes Contact local representatives join forces with the Drug Policy Alliance etc. Prosecuting dealers more sternly won’t help much in reducing drug use rather the fewer people will be sent to jail the better chance of them getting treatment.