Marijuana: What brought Bollywood to its knees keeps Manipur ‘high’

Marijuana
Selective cultivation of cannabis and poppy could annually generate revenue of ₹800 crore to ₹900 crore for Himachal. | Photo - PTI/AP File

A group of friends in a remote district in Manipur has never smoked in their lifetime but they do know how to churn a good marijuana crop at the end of every year. Blissfully unaware of the nationwide storm over weed, these cannabis farmers in Manipur’s countryside are rather getting ready for their next harvest.

The cannabis plant has been the mainstay of livelihood for many villagers in the state, particularly in some of the economically backward districts, for decades despite a ban on its cultivation, posing a dilemma for the government’s anti-drug drive.

The ubiquitous flowering plant that also sprouts abundantly in the wilds in the state is sowed around June-July and harvested in December-January.

After harvesting, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems of the plant are dried to produce marijuana or ganja, which is now in the news following the ongoing Narcotics Control Bureau’s investigation into the alleged widespread use of the psychoactive substance by Bollywood stars.

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