It was back in 1985 that India banned cannabis and joined the global fight against narcotic substances (including cannabis).
Nat. Geo – ANDREA DE FRANCISCIS
In many part of the upper region of Himalayas, there are small villages that still thrive by growing cannabis.
In three decades that have passed since the ban on cannabis plantation, its production still flourishes on highlands as there is no way to take stock of its production.
But even with this, the police many a times find huge harvesting of cannabis indica in the villages and in turn cut or burn the plantation up.
The production and selling of charas, ganja, and any other cannabis related product, is also one of the only ways to survive in these villages.
This history dates back thousands of years and has even found its mention in sacred Veda texts where it’s said that Lord Shiva sat in meditation on the snowy peaks of the Himalayas while feeding on ganja flowers.
Harvesting the cannabis is not the only thing that these farmers do. After producing it they spend hours slowly rubbing the resin from the plant’s flowers so as to create charas, a type of hashish that’s considered to be one of the the best in the world.
The demand is increasing year by year as Charas is getting more valuable across the world, but even this increase in demand make no difference for these farmers.
Majority of them still live a humble life and only cultivate Cannabis in small fields in which 50 buds of ganja produce only about 10 grams of charas. The villages too are scattered and the colorful houses are made with dark roofs of thin stone slabs.
The extreme conditions at these heights also provides no alternative career option for these villagers and thus many of these farmers have never cultivated anything legal in their life.
Talking about these natives Romesh Bhattacharji, ex-Narcotics Commissioner of India told National Geographic:
“Nearly 400 of the 640 districts in India have cannabis cultivation. It’s time for the Indian Government to stop being a slave of UN-backed policies: since 1985, cannabis use and cultivation has only proliferated. Prohibition has failed.”
Agreeing with Bhattacharji, Tom Blickman of the Dutch think-tank Transnational Institute said:
“The obligation to eliminate cannabis in countries with widespread traditional use is a clear example of the colonial background of the [UN] Convention. It would never pass nowadays.”