A restaurant in Bengaluru recently had a pamphlet advertising a place that sold ‘weed brownies.’ Equipment used to inhale cannabis substances are often put up on display in shops and are no secret. The advertisements are also shared on some “secret” Facebook groups.
According to the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, cannabis substances of any kind are not to be cultivated. But there have been arguments that advocate legalising of cannabis. Uttarakhand is the first Indian state to legalise the cultivation of cannabis plants for industrial purposes referring to the manufacture of hemp fibre.
A source, a cannabi dealer, on the condition of anonymity says that in Bengaluru, on an average, a dealer will sell cannabis substances to at least 10-15 customers in a week. “The number of smokers has increased in the past five years and it’s easily available everywhere,” adds the source.
The chain of supply goes like this: the main man, multiple middle men and then the final customer. The dealers are often, the ones who grow their own product and sometimes even non-dealers cultivate the plantation independently. Cannabis plants are grown mostly in Hosakote and in Bengaluru too. He says, “the prices of cannabis differ depending upon the quality and quantity of the substance and the demand.” A customer again on the condition of anonymity says, “for 20-25 grams, it costs around Rs 500.”
When asked about the age demographic among his customers, the dealer said, “the main users fall into the age group of 20-28, mostly college students and people working in call centres.” Cannabis is popular not just within the city or among a select few, but everywhere, according to him.
There are many active groups and campaigns calling for the legalisation of marijuana, not only in Bengaluru but also in India. Facebook and other popular social media sites often have groups that post about the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.
A user of cannabis says that, “marijuana has very few harmful effects compared to other drugs or substances. There have been cases where people have been cured of various illnesses and diseases by using cannabis and cannabis oil.”
Recently, two men had been arrested for the possession of marijuana with intent of distribution in Bengaluru near St. Joseph’s college. When asked about whether he is afraid of the arrest, he said he was not, as the city had a lot of smokers and systems in place to help the arrested. I could not verify what he said.
Editor’s note: A longer and detailed version of this will appear on Citizen Matters – Bengaluru.