In recent years, the consumption of narcotic drugs in Nepal has surged, leading the government to take action to control its production, sale, import, and consumption. The primary law in place to combat drug use in Nepal is the Narcotic Drugs Control Act, 2033 (1976), which defines narcotic drugs and outlines the various offenses related to them.
Section 3 of the Narcotic Drugs Control Act categorizes narcotic drugs as cannabis/marijuana, opium, coca, and any substances made by mixing opium and extract coca. Section 4 of the act lists the activities prohibited by the law, which includes cultivation, production, preparation, buying, selling, export, import, trafficking, sortation, or consumption of cannabis/marijuana or any other narcotic drug.
The act applies to Nepali citizens and foreigners residing in Nepal who engage in any transaction, export, or import of narcotic drugs that violate the law. Any offense related to narcotic drugs is considered an organized crime and has extra-territorial jurisdiction.
One unique aspect of the Narcotic Drugs Control Act is the burden of proof, which lies with the defendant. If a person is found in possession of any narcotic drug or evidence of its cultivation, preparation, or processing, they must prove that they obtained or possessed it legally. Failure to do so is considered an offense under the act.
The act also prescribes specific punishments for offenses related to narcotic drugs. For instance, anyone caught consuming cannabis/marijuana can be punished with imprisonment for up to one month or a fine of up to Rs 2,000. Similarly, anyone caught cultivating up to 25 cannabis/marijuana plants can face imprisonment for up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 3,000.
However, the penalties for more severe offenses related to narcotic drugs are much more severe. Anyone caught trafficking or producing more than ten kilograms of any narcotic drug can face imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of up to Rs 100,000.
The Narcotic Drugs Control Act provides a comprehensive legal framework to regulate the production, sale, and consumption of narcotic drugs in Nepal. The law aims to prevent the abuse of these drugs and the harm it causes to individuals and society as a whole. However, effective implementation of the law and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and communities are essential to achieve its objectives.