Malana the people of India where cannabis is a way of life
Malana the people of India where cannabis is a way of life For hundreds of years, the small town of Malana was just a speck lost among the mountains of the Indian Himalaya
Located at the top of the lush Kullu Valley, to reach Malana a four-day walk from the nearest road was often required. The village is run by its own village parliament and conflicts are resolved in its own court.
For centuries, villagers have cultivated the plant that has made Malana one of the world’s “destinies” for “stoners”, and a symbolic battlefield for India’s random struggle against “charas” black and sticky hashish that has made the town famous.
In 1985, the government of India yielded to international pressure and banned the production and consumption of cannabis. The possession of one kilogram of charas, the resin rich in THC extracted when cutting the plants, is punished with a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment.
In the sleepy mountainous states of northern India, marijuana has grown native and wild for hundreds of years. Lawmakers and local officials say the plant is part of its tradition and empathize with people in these remote and rugged villages who consider cannabis as the only cash crop that can grow in these extreme temperatures and geographic conditions
Maheshwar Singh a local legislator and the descendant head of the royal family of Kullu said that by looking at the old fiscal books you can see that the plant was grown And legally sold decades before the Indian drug law.
“It was a multipurpose plant for these people” said the burly and cheerful 67-year-old man pointing out the local use of hemp fibers for making traditional ropes and slippers ” Pula “and that continue being the only footwear allowed by the pilgrimages.
People in the village of Malana spend half of the year collecting essential elements of nature and the other half wintering, as the village disappears under snow in the harsh winter.
Villagers up to 80 years old, walk through the high mountains for an hour to reach the cannabis plants and make the black resin rubbing their hands. This sticky hash is found in the markets at prices ranging from 50 to 150 dollars the ball of 20 grams.
“Wheat and other grains do not grow on this earth” says a village named Massi. “Nothing else grows here. We have to live that way What can we do? “
The aromatic “Malana Cream”, a variety of hashish produced in the village by the most powerful plants has earned the status of legend among marijuana smokers around the world. Consumed mostly with tobacco, in a joint or chillum, penetrating hash has found its way out of the Coffeeshops in Amsterdam and has won the High Times Cannabis Cup at least twice
There is a notable influx of foreign and local tourists in the Parvati Valley and the mountain range surrounding the Parvati River near Malana.
“It has just become a destination for cool international people, hikers and cannabis smokers” said Florent Dupont 32, while sipping tea and a Porro in a guesthouse.
“People know they can get a good product very fresh product”, added the French traveler.
The valley is full of young Israelis, with dreary clothes and hair coming to experience a therapeutic experience after years of military service.
The frenzied popularity of local hashish has triggered the cultivation of cannabis in the valley. In 2016, the local government estimates that some 240 hectares in the region have been used for the cultivation of cannabis, producing more than 12,000 kilos of hashish.
The real numbers are much higher than those of plants grown on the steep edges of the high mountains which makes it impossible to reach the police.
The demand and price of charas has benefited villagers and has also led to a slight increase in prosecutions, and has led the government of India to send the police armed with machetes and forest personnel in Long walks to destroy a small percentage of the marijuana fields.
Villagers say they understand with local authorities, who push their fields away from the village and on forest lands, where they can not be processed by crops that are not on their land.
Maheshwar Singh says that the Hindu Government needs a different approach to address the problem.
“I feel that they have a reason to stick to the plantation, since that is the only way they can make a living” Singh said. “The government of India made policies to provide them with some other employment. But we have not been able to do “
“They want us to stop practicing marijuana altogether. But we keep sowing, “ said a villager named Jabe Ram . “If the government helps us in any way and we protect ourselves from hunger and cold, we might consider suspension. Obviously, we will not go hungry. Even if we have to go to jail for it, so be it. “