‹‹‹ prev (24) Page 4Page 4

(26) next ››› Page 6Page 6

(25) Page 5 -


                    6. Evidence of MR. T. STOKER, I.C.S., Excise Commissioner.

                       Oral evidence.

I was twelve years an Assistant Magistrate and
Joint Magistrate and Collector, and constantly in
charge of the district excise. I was three and a
half-years in settlement work. I have been two
years in charge of the Excise Department. I
have served in most parts of the North-Western
Provinces and have travelled through Oudh. I
have held charge of districts for short periods;
but my settlement work took me away from that

I am not prepared to say that any such injury
has been or is being done by hemp drugs as to
necessitate any serious change. I think our
system is, perhaps, capable of improvement, but
more especially from a revenue point of view. I
say this because the people have been using the
drugs for centuries; and there is no national
deterioration generally or among the people who
particularly use the drug. I understand that the
plant was not indigenous in India, but was im-
ported. Now it is practically indigenous. It is,
however, a matter of centuries in any case. It is
alleged, I know, that insanity is due to these
drugs. I was a visitor in the Bareilly Lunatic
Asylum. I think there is a general tendency to
set down insanity to the use of hemp without
ascertaining fully whether the drug was the cause
or a concomitant. I do not know a case myself,
and I believe that there is great exaggeration.
I think that, perhaps, the similarity between the
effects of excessive doses of hemp and insanity may
account for this in some degree. I also think that
prolonged excessive use may weaken the mind. I
think that any mental derangement or weakness
caused by hemp would be of a temporary charac-
ter, unless there were constitutional weakness. It
would pass away on the cessation of use of the
drug. I have seen in cases of excessive consu-
mers a slowness of intelligence and defect in
memory; but I am not prepared to say that this
state would have continued had the drugs been
abandoned. I did not observe them long enough,
I think that hemp drugs may be the exciting
cause of insanity where constitutional tendency
exists. I speak, however, as an unscientific ob-
server. I can hardly say whether hemp drugs or
alcohol would be more potent in this way. I can-
not form an opinion. I also think that bhang
would probably have no such effect; but charas or
ganja might; charas more readily, perhaps, than
ganja, which is weaker. In all this I refer to the
excessive use. The moderate use is what prevails.
The excessive use is quite exceptional. The moder-
ate use has, as far as my experience goes, no tend-
ency to produce insanity.

In regard to crime, my belief and experience as
a Magistrate and Excise Officer is that the use of
hemp drugs is not a direct cause of crime. In
cases where persons are going to commit a crime
of violence already arranged and determined, I
believe they undoubtedly use hemp drugs as they
might any other stimulant to fortify themselves.
I have known such cases. It is also a common
belief that the Bandelkhand dacoits do so fortify
themselves with either liquor or bhang. Those
who use hemp drugs on such occasions belong to
the classes who ordinarily consume the drug,
and are probably ordinary consumers. They
would probably fortify themselves for any arduous
work in the same way. Unpremeditated crime
resulting from the use of hemp drugs has not
come within my experience. I have never beard
of a case of a man under the influence of intoxi-
cants committing a murder or any crime of vio-
lence without motive. In all my thousands of
cases I have never had such a case. Of course
those who fortify themselves as above indicated
do not stupefy themselves, I remember catching
dacoits red-handed who were said to have used
hemp drugs. They were all in their senses. I
think too that, as in the case of alcohol in Eng-
land, a man might go much further in crime
under the influence of drugs than he would have
done had be not been excited by their use. But
such effects of the drug have never come before

I have observed no evil effects of a physical
character from the moderate use. I cannot dis-
tinguish the moderate consumer (either habitual
or occasional) of ganja or charas from the non-
consumer. The occasional smoker is rare, I
have sat for hours at drug shops watching the
people who came to buy, and questioned them as
to use, and have come to the conclusion that the
moderate consumer is not injuriously affected. I
think that in certain cases I have observed the
appearance of physical deterioration from excess-
ive use of these drugs. I am not prepared to say
that this may not have been due to other causes
or other vicious practices; but my opinion, based
on such observations, is that they were due, in
some of these cases at least, to the use of these
drugs, specially charas. By physical deterioration
I mean weakness, emaciation, absence of healthy
colour, etc. Such cases, I should add, are ex-
tremely few. Of course these characteristics are
present also among moderate consumers as well
as in the body of the people. But they are
present to a greater extent among the excessive
consumers, so far as my observation goes. These
observations, of course, were mainly in towns and
larger villages.

As a District Officer and Settlement Officer I
got into intimate contact with all classes. I be-
lieve that these drugs are comparatively little used
among the agricultural classes as compared with
the town population, and that excess is still rarer.
I have observed no ill-effect at all. And I think
that there may be physical advantage. I think
the drugs do give additional physical power, and
also afford refreshment under conditions where
food cannot be taken. In this I include ganja and
charas. In respect to bhang, any evil effects that
it produces are, as I have already said, less than
those which may be produced by ganja or charas.
Under ideal diet, the use of drugs might be exclud-
ed like any other stimulant; but under the sys-
tem under which we actually live I see no reason
to regard the moderate use of these drugs as in-
jurious or to treat them as poisons. If I were
asked whether the man who did not take hemp
drugs is better off physically, morally, and pecu-
niarily, I say yes. I should say the same in re-
gard to all intoxicants. But I should not answer
in the affirmative if I were asked whether he
should be interfered with and refused the use of
drugs or other similar intoxicants.

Memorandum. Paragraph 7.—I think that
charas, as now ordinarily sold in the bazars, which
is, I believe, largely adulterated, is stronger than
ganja. My idea that the consumption of charas
is increasing is based on observation rather than
statistics. I have explained how difficult it is to
get accurate figures. The consumption is general-
ly believed to be increasing in the eastern districts,

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

Takedown policy