Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Cannabis crop provides economic security

Tucked away in the mountains of India, a little village called Malana is said to the home of the finest hashish in the world, 'Malana Cream' .

Surprisingly prosperous-looking for a hamlet so remote, Malana produces enough maize by itself to feed a large part of Himachal Pradesh. Or that's just what the official Kanungo's records say. What really sprouts in Malana is a mammoth cannabis plant that yields a resinous drug prized the world over for its unique high. The place's emerged as the pivot of the whole hashish trade emanating from Kullu.

Raided for the first time in its history in 2003 the villagers have become more careful.

This time around precautions have been taken and the cultivation moved away to more obscure localities. "Outlying farmsteads in Magic,Wellbeing, Vaichon, Toshko and Bailing will yield the majority of this year's crop," reveals a local. "The police can try as they will but they can't shut us down," grins another.

The locals are not interested in alternative development and this is no doubt why.

The daily wage rate of Rs 700 during the harvest season is in itself the highest possible for an unskilled job in the region. The precise output of Malana has never been calculated. But it is enough to allow a majority of the populace to work during the harvest season from September to October alone and then ease out for the rest of the year.

One doubts they could raise another crop that affords them that luxury. Just another illustration of how cannabis could save not just our own but also the solvency of the world's economy.


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