South Asia

Hindu god banishes cannabis tourism from Indian village

Posted on July 11th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South AsiaA local Hindu deity has issued an edict ordering that guest-houses that cater to cannabis-imbibing tourists in a remote Indian village be shut down. That's the gist of the startling headline in Hindustan Times of July 11. Malana village, high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, is famous for its premium-quality hashish, but has traditionally been isolated from the outside world. Now village elders fear the community's unique culture is threatened by the swarms of tourists drawn by Malana's storied bhang.

Who is world's top cannabis producer?

earthThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last week issued its World Drug Report 2017—its 20th annual survey of production, trafficking and eradication and enforcement efforts around the globe. In past years, the report has sought to quantify the amount of cannabis cultivated in each producer country—over the past decade consistently placing Morocco in first place, generally followed by Mexico and Paraguay. This general trend continues—with some new variations.

Meth plague hits Bangladesh

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

South AsiaThe rural marshlands of Bangladesh have become the latest part of the world to be hit by the unhappy global plague of methamphetamine use. More and more of the country's struggling peasants are taking to "yaba," little pink sugar-coated pills made from caffeine and meth that are flooding in from neighboring Burma. Annual seizures of yaba in Bangladesh increased by a jaw-dropping 80,000% over the past decade, authorities say. A disturbing on-the-scene report from Public Radio International emphasizes that in conservative and Muslim rural Bangladesh, yaba is not being used as a "party drug." The speed pills are most often used to get folks through long days of hard labor.

Reefer madness hits Nepal

Posted on March 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

South AsiaThe number of drug-related offenses is "higher than any other heinous crime in Nepal and is increasing at an alarming rate," according a none-too-objective March 17 account in Kathmandu's The Himalayan newspaper. The article credulously regurgitates the claims of a new report from the country's Narcotics Control Bureau, breaking down crime figures since 2011. The total for drug offenses rises to around 1,800, while those for murder and rape remain in the hudreds, and abduction in the two-digit range. And what kinds of drugs are at issue here? We are luridly told that "cultivation of genetically selected strains have [sic] led to increase in cannabis harvests. As a result, cannabis cultivation is increasing even in the hilly areas, posing a grave threat to security, according to the report."

Cannabis thrives both sides of divided Kashmir

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

South AsiaThe disputed region of Kashmir, divided between India and Pakistan since 1949, has made scary headlines in recent months. Pro-independence militants are stepping up attacks on the India-controlled side, and the region is a potential flashpoint for war between the nuclear-armed South Asian giants. But it hardly comes as a surprise that a cannabis economy thrives on both sides of the Line of Control—despite the best efforts to suppress it by both Indian and Pakistani security forces. The Indian Police Service last week announced the arrest of Kashmir's most-wanted charas smuggler at a checkpoint in Tangmarg district, in the north of the India-controlled territory. The trafficker was named as Abdul Rehman Dar, but there is no reason to expect his fall to interrupt the illicit industry. The region's conservative Islamist press runs editorials scandalized by long-entrenched cultivation of bhang (cannabis) to produce charas (hashish), as well khash-khash (opium poppy).

India: opium legalization initiative in Punjab

Posted on January 24th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

opiatesA candidate for the assembly in India's northwest state of Punjab is calling for the legalization of opium to address the much-hyped drug problem in the state.  Calcutta's The Telegraph reported Jan. 22 that candidate Tarsem Jodhan unveiled the proposal at a campaign rally in his native village of Dakha, saying: "Opium is not a killer like heroin and other synthetic drugs."

Bhutan emerges as contraband cannabis hub

Posted on July 21st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South AsiaThe landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan was traditionally isolated—only getting television as recently as 1999. Since opening up, alas, it has been increasingly drawn into the multiple armed conflicts rocking the greater region—especially becoming a staging ground for ethnic guerillas waging insurgencies for autonomy or separatism in India. Most recently, authorities in India are asserting that some of these guerilla armies are in league with Bhutanese cannabis growers to fund their armed struggles. 

Scorpion-smoking: latest Pakistani craze

Posted on April 18th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

PakistanDon't try this one at home. A grimly fascinating report in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper April 15 features an interview with an aging scorpion-venom addict in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, near the border with Afghanistan. Sohbat Khan, 74, says he has been smoking scorpions to get high off the venom since the '60s, and only recently managed to kick the habit—by switching to opium. "Drugs are beaten by other drugs," he sadly told a reporter, speaking in his native Pashto. The stuff sppears be highly addictive, and when Khan could not find scorpions in his village, he would travel to Peshawar, the regional capital, to buy them in the market. The piece does not make clear if the scorpion trade is officially tolerated by authorities.

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