Opium Commission 1893
In 1893 a royal commission was issued to inquire into the results of using opium in India, and the possibility of prohibiting it. This commission examined many witnesses and finally reported in 1895. The result was as follows:
- The result of Opium use in India is much less harmful than it was supposed.
- Opium rarely sends any criminal to the Jails, as Alcohol sends criminals to English Jails as a cause of crime and death in England. It is used by the holy saints of India.
- Opium is not associated to any disease and it is widely used as a remedy in Malaria and Fever. J
The result was that the Government happily accepted the recommendation of this commission and shelved the idea of imposing a ban on Opium.
A similar parliamentary commission was asked to inquire into the impact of Bhang, Ganja and other “desi” drugs and the commissions found that if Bhang and Ganja are prohibited, the consumption of alcohol will increase in India, and that would cause more problems for their subjects in India.
At that time, Opium was cultivated by only licensed cultivators and they were required to sell all of the produce to the Government, which used to “export” it. About 90 % of this Opium was sent to China and Government earned two third of the profit. Opium was rarely smoked in India but the people of Burma were used to living in Opium Smoker’s paradise. But the commission’s reports were criticized by some parliamentarians of England like Henry Joseph Wilson, who did not approve the “studies” of the commissioners.