Indian media is filled with headlines of Aryan Khan’s (son of Bollywood Star Sharukh Khan) arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India on a cruise ship on October 3, 2021. Many media houses are celebrating the event with all pomp and glory throwing in bits and pieces of Masala (spice) – some even went berserk – especially those active on the social-media.
Can you justify such media glare and media trial?
Sashi Tharoor summed it up very well through his tweet “I am no fan of recreational drugs and haven’t ever tried any, but I am repelled by the ghoulish epicaricacy displayed by those now witch-hunting Sharukh Khan on his son’s arrest. Have some empathy, folks. The public glare is bad enough; no need to gleefully rub a 23yr old’s face in it.”
I needed a dictionary to understand his tweet – ghoulish (ugly and unpleasant, or frightening) epicaricacy (deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others.) That is Tharoorian English for you!!
I too am not a fan of recreational drugs and never tried it. The smell of marijuana smoke puts me off – though I have been a cigarette smoker for over four decades. But the way the NCB, Indian media and the judiciary have conducted themselves in dealing with the case – I am no fan of that too. It is absurd – may be I have lived in Canada for 18 years where a similar case would have been dealt with differently.
This prompted me to delve into the Canadian laws on Cannabis. In our Province of Ontario, one must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational Cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in our province. The law stipulates that one can smoke and vape Cannabis in private residences, many outdoor public places (sidewalks and parks,) designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns, etc. One cannot smoke cannabis in publicly-owned sport fields (not including golf courses), nearby spectator areas and public areas within 20 metres of these areas.
One can may grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person) if one is 19 years of age and older; only for personal use; the seeds were purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorised retail store; and above all, it is not forbidden by your lease agreement or condo rules.
After the law was implemented in October 2019, I found a drastic decrease in the odor of Marijuana smoke while on my walks, especially at park corners. It appeared that it was Cool no more.
The law also permits a person to possess a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis in public at any time. I also realised that I can grow four Cannabis plants at our home for recreational purpose.
My mind raced back to 1980’s – a Television interview of a Tribal Chieftain from Kerala, India. In the early 1970’s when Mrs Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India, she visited the tribal area accompanied by Mr K Karunakaran, then Home Minister of Kerala State. The Tribal Chieftain was fortunate to have had an audience with Mrs Gandhi. She asked him as to what she could do for the welfare of his people and the Chieftain did not ask for a school, not a hospital and not a proper road to his land – he did not ask for drinking water facilities and not for electricity – but he promptly asked “Our people should be allowed to grow two Cannabis plants per household.”
Mrs Gandhi smiled and Mr Karunakaran nodded. The Chieftain claimed that thereafter the Police and the State Excise Department accepted it as an unwritten law and never ever bothered them.