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Nepali lawmakers push marijuana legalization

Ruling Communist Party sees export opportunities in medical demand

A Hindu holy man smokes marijuana at a temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu, Nepal.   © Reuters

KATHMANDU -- Nepalese lawmakers are pushing to legalize marijuana decades after the Himalayan country, once an international hippie haven due to its cannabis cultivation, outlawed the production and consumption of weed.

Nepal was a hotbed for marijuana lovers during the 1960s and 1970s on perceptions of a favorable growing climate for the plant. But authorities made it illegal in 1973 under pressure from the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon, the World Health Organization and some Nepalese.

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