Imagine this. You have been at work all day dealing with a really difficult client who has been eating your head by making you make minor changes on the same project. You finally manage to close the deal and shut your laptop. You are pretty tensed and you decide to unwind a bit. You roll up a doobie and spark it to help you calm your nerves. And right when you are at the sweet spot halfway through the joint, a couple of cops pull up on a motorcycle and catch you red handed. Unless you can outrun a motorcycle, you have no option but to deal with the cops. So what happens if the cops catch you smoking weed in India?
Marijuana has been a part of India's culture since the early ages. Ganja is so intertwined in our roots that even our gods have been depicted as users of cannabis. Marijuana is offered as a Prasad in a lot of Shiva and Sai Baba temples across India and thousands of Sadhus and Babas freely smoke weed. Despite all this, marijuana is still majorly illegal in India.
Our law punishes you for consuming, carrying, selling or transporting Marijuana and other Cannabinoids. However, there has been a major jump in the increase of cannabis users in India. The highest consumption of Marijuana in the world happens in Delhi and Mumbai and cops are on high alert when it comes to busting stoners.
But we don't really know a lot about our rights and duties when it comes to being arrested. People often share stories of when they were busted for smoking pot and that is when we realize that a lot of people have been conned by corrupt cops and have ended up paying up to Rs 25,000!
Jayesh says, "I was smoking with my friends at an empty street in Breach Candy when suddenly a cop car pulled up next to us. We didn't want to run because they would accuse us of running from them. So they came and told us that if we want to go the legal way, each one of us would have to pay Rs 20,000 which would amount to a lac since there were five of us. After negotiation for about half an hour, they agreed to let us go by paying Rs 25,000."
"You need to see how senior the cop is when they arrest you. If it's an inspector or sub-inspector, you are in trouble. They will ask you to pay them around 20k and even threaten to call your parents. But if it's a low-level cop, you can get away by bribing him as less as Rs 500. It depends on your luck and the location that you are smoking. If you are at the main road, a cop car will be on patrol at all times. Low-level cops will take their bikes to the shadiest streets and they are more likely to catch you." Says Siddhant.
However, not a lot of people really know what is the legal procedure is. So we decided to do some digging and found out everything you need to know if you are ever arrested for smoking pot.
The punishment for Cannabis in India depends on the quantity of product you are caught with. Section 20 Of the NDPS Act, 1985 deals with the offenses related not only to the consumption but also cultivation, possession, use, sale/purchase, import/export, transportation and warehousing of cannabis, except for medical or scientific purposes.
Under section 20, For possession of small quantities (100 grams for charas and hashish, 1000 grams for ganja), you have to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000 or serve a jail term of 6 months to 1 year.
If someone is caught with commercial quantities (1 kg for charas and hashish, 20 kgs of ganja), the court can serve stern imprisonment for up to twenty years and pay a fine of two lakh rupees. In the case of cultivation, a fine of up to one lakh rupees and rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years might be levied. Courts also at their own discretion can penalize a regular offender for a 30-year imprisonment term. It is also not compulsory to give away a mandatory death sentence for repeated convictions in cases of trafficking large quantities of drugs.
So the next time you get busted, make sure you have 10k stashed somewhere or make sure you have really good convincing skills and talk your way out of it!