A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Chhattisgarh has suggested the promotion of bhaang and cannabis as alternatives to liquor, claiming that those who consume the former rarely commit serious crimes, PTI reported on Monday.

Krishnamurti Bandhi, the MLA from the Masturi constituency of Bilaspur district, told reporters that rapes, murders and quarrels often take take place after people get drunk.

“During a discussion in the state Assembly, I had asked the members to show me one incident where someone committed a rape or robbery under the influence of bhaang,” he said.

The MLA noted that the state government has formed committees to study the feasibility of a liquor ban.

“The committee should think how we can promote bhang and ganja [cannabis],” Bandhi added. “If people want addiction, then they should be provided such stuff which does not result in murder, rape and other offences. It is my personal opinion.”

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act bans the use and sale of cannabis resin and flowers, but allows the use of the plant’s seeds, stems and leaves. As bhaang is made using leaves of the cannabis plant, its consumption is permitted, while the use of ganja is a crime.

Commenting on Bandhi’s remarks, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that addiction in any form was not good, PTI reported. He also said that if the MLA wanted ganja to be legalised, he should make the demand before the Union government.

“When central agencies are roaming in Mumbai to seize 10 gram ganja, its [BJP’s] senior leader is saying ganja should be consumed,” Baghel said.