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Manipur govt endorsed firm’s bid to transport, use cannabis seeds, flowers & leaves, says report

Australian national Reza Borhani met then CM N. Biren Singh in September 2019 for the purpose. In November, he was arrested in Mumbai for alleged involvement in a drug racket.

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Guwahati: The Manipur government had in 2019 allegedly endorsed a request by an Australian national, the supposed owner of an Assam-based private company, Cannabis Health And Sciences, for the transport and use of seeds, flowers, and leaves of cannabis plants from Manipur to various other states. 

The Frontier Manipur, a news outlet based out of Imphal, had Friday reported about a meeting that had taken place between Dr Reza Borhani, the Australian national, and N. Biren Singh, the outgoing chief minister of the state in September 2019. 

Two months after the meeting with Biren Singh, Reza Borhani was arrested in November by the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai Police crime branch for his alleged involvement in a drug racket in Mumbai. 

The report says that following the meeting, Borhani had written a letter addressed to the state’s Horticultural Minister, in which he sought the “license/permit to hold, transport and use of the seeds, flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant from Manipur for purpose of scientific research and testing in institutions, laboratories and hospitals within Manipur and in the states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Karnataka, Orissa, Goa and Maharashtra” to Cannabis Health And Sciences Pvt Ltd. 

The report, which enclosed a copy of a letter by Borhani, states that the state government had then “instructed the Special Secretary (Home) to ‘allow and issue permits for sample’”. 

The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, prohibits the sale and use of cannabis resin and flowers, although it permits the use of its seeds, stems and leaves. 

However, states like Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh have legalised the cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes. 


Also read: India’s cannabis law is nonsensical, it’s time for ‘Big Bhang’ reform


Suspected to be part of LSD racket

According to reports, Borhani, who is married to Assamese model and actress Tora Khasgir, was suspected to be part of an international drug cartel that smuggles LSD from Europe to India. The reports say that 1,551 papers of LSD worth Rs 1.08 crore had been found on Borhani in November 2019. He was charged under the NDPS Act. 

“When contacted, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) maintained that it was just an experimental endorsement and there was no official link with Reza Borhani’s Cannabis Health and Sciences Pvt Ltd (CHS),” The Frontier Manipur report also mentions. 

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi) 


Also read: The long list of harmful effects of cannabis criminalisation no one talks about


 

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