In view, however, of the indefinite and uncertain information obtained regard-
ing the extent of the traffic in the drug and the limited nature of the consump-
tion, the Madras Government came to the conclusion that in most parts of the
Presidency no restriction was called for, but remarked that it was prepared to
extend the provisions of the Abkari Act relating to intoxicating drugs to limited
areas on adequate cause being shown.

Experience, however, showed that the demand for the drugs was considerably
larger than was suspected, and that the competition in certain districts for the
privilege of vend was very keen. Accordingly the licenses for retail vend were
sold by auction, with the result that the revenue from this source rose the first
year from Rs. 8,805 to Rs. 54,989. No further measures for controlling culti-
vation or restricting consumption were taken. The Board again considered the
question of limiting the legal possession of the drug, which had been advo-
cated by the majority of the Collectors, but came to the decision that restrictions
on the cultivation of the plant should precede those on possession, and their
objections to revising the idea of licensing cultivation appear to have been (a) that
this would involve the taking out of a license by every person who had a plant
or two in his garden; and (b) that it would have been necessary to make a large
increase in the number of shops in order to meet the legitimate demands of
consumers. It is not clear why the Board changed their views regarding pro-
hibition of cultivation which they had previously recommended. And the num-
ber of shops existing in Madras is under the existing arrangement manifestly in-
adequate, being one for every 144,781 of the inhabitants. Considering that the
consumption of the drugs in Madras is found to be much larger than was sus-
pected, and that the propriety of introducing more control into the admin-
istration has for several years been recognized, the Commission are of opinion that
the needed reforms should be no longer delayed.

Treatment of the subject in

661. The system in Bombay, which was introduced in 1880, does not seem
to have been brought under discussion since that
time. The Commissioner of Excise states that the
subject attracted little attention till the Commission was appointed. The Com-
missioner of the Northern Division says that the system seems to have grown up
in a haphazard way. The subject has been treated mainly from the revenue
point of view, and the control exercised has not been strict. At the same time the
area of regular ganja cultivation in Bombay seems to be considerably larger
than in any other province; and if measures with a view to restriction in con-
sumption are necessary anywhere, they certainly appear to be so in this Presi-

Control of cultivation for ganja.

662. The Commission on a full review of the whole circumstances con-
nected with the ganja administration have framed the
opinion that cultivation of the hemp plant for the
production of narcotics in Madras and Bombay should be prohibited except under
license, and that the licensed cultivators should be restricted to a limited area as
in Bengal and the Central Provinces. They are of opinion that no greater
difficulties exist in this respect than have been already overcome in these
provinces. A few remarks are offered in justification of this view.