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indicate that there is room for taxation to regulate the wholesale rates of
the drug." Mr. Vidal says: "In view of the higher taxation in other
provinces, I see no reason why there should not be a higher direct tax in
this province. The disproportion between the taxation of liquor and of hemp
drugs, and the relative dearness of liquor which results from this, also points
to the propriety of increasing taxation on hemp drugs." Mr. Monteath, Col-
lector, says: "I think the present system of excise administration in respect
of hemp drugs has worked fairly well, but that the time has come for putting
these drugs on the same footing as alcoholic stimulants and opium. Hitherto
the consumption of preparations of hemp has not been extensive, and so long
as it was very small, the farm of the right to sell, as dispensing with the need
of any preventive establishment, was perhaps more suitable. But it seems that
not only in this district (Bijapur), but throughout the Presidency, the amounts
bid for the right to sell have been increasing, and it may fairly be inferred
that the habit of consuming these drugs is spreading. It cannot, indeed, be
said yet to be prevalent; still the total consumption is, I think, sufficient to
make it worth while to impose an excise duty; it is already in this district much
in excess of the consumption of opium, though insignificant as compared with
the consumption of alcoholic stimulants, particularly toddy. It is, I believe,
generally admitted that the system of deriving a revenue by farming the right
to sell is suitable only in the earliest stage, and that the levy of an excise
duty is the fairest and most satisfactory method of taxing an article produced in
the country. Now the levy of an excise duty on preparations of hemp will pre-
sent no difficulties in this Presidency. The existing abkari establishments would
probably suffice for the levy of the duty, or at least would require strengthening
to but a small extent. The levy of an excise duty would not, I think, excite any
opposition. An alteration in the form of duty could not reasonably be objected
to." Mr. Ebden, Collector, says: "The hemp drugs are very much cheaper than
liquor now. For a pice a man can get enough ganja to last him for a week if
he is a moderate consumer. There is, therefore, considerable margin for heavier
taxation of the drug without driving the people to liquor or other intoxicants. I
consider there is a considerable margin for taxation, though the drug is con-
sumed by the very poor. I have no sympathy with the excessive consumer, and
the moderate consumer would not feel a moderate increase." Mr. Sinclair, Col-
lector, says: "I consider there is a margin for increasing taxation, having regard
to the price of other intoxicants, the fact that the drugs are mainly used by the
poor, and the danger of smuggling." Mr. Almon, Assistant Collector, Bombay,
says: "My impression is that the tax on the drugs is too low. I think that the
ordinary liquor consumer pays twice as much for what he wants as the ordinary
ganja consumer would, or three times as much as the ordinary bhang drinker. I
think the rates should be equalized." Other advocates of increased taxation are
three Deputy Collectors, the Administrator of the Jath State, an Assistant to the
Commissioner, an inamdar, a mamlatdar, a pleader, and a drug farmer.

Recommendations regarding
taxation of ganja in Madras and

671. In view of these opinions, as well as of the general considerations
which have been explained above, the Commission
have no hesitation in advocating the gradual assi-
milation of the Madras and Bombay systems to that
in force in Bengal. The process of arriving at adequate taxation must necessarily
be gradual, but a commencement should be made without any further delay.

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