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Cannabis in Himalayas - Major Economic Source to Illegal and Taboo Substance

India has invariably been a world-renowned place for cannabis history; with its use of analysis as way back as spirituality. Until now, the Indians have not lost their aptitude for the cannabis business, with cannabis farms high within the Himalaya Mountains manufacturing plenty of products a year. Although the NDPS Act 1985 has prohibited cannabis in India. It is still widely used across the country and is valued not only as a social pursuit however as an integral part of some spiritual practices.

In this article, we tend to explore the opportunities and uncertainties governing the lives of individuals in the remote areas of the Himalayan range and by explaining the situation of the Indian cannabis market with the example of Afghanistan which has become passionate about an extremely rewardful natural resource—for economic development.

How cannabis was different for Himalayan people rather than other people from the plains?

Cannabis originated in the Himalaya Mountains and is endemic to the Indian landmass and Asia. In the Himalayas, it grows in abundance, not unlike the plains, however, there's a serious distinction between the flowers and seeds production. You might not have ever seen flowers and seeds growing wild within the plains; whereas the majority of the cannabis plants here on the mountain slopes have many flowering elements.

Nearly twelve percent of the world’s human population lives in mountains. The no uniformity of resources and the relative inconvenience of mountain regions additionally generates a high degree of cultural diversity, and utilization of cannabis for recreational and various functions, with subsequent high mutuality between native people and also the ecosystems they inhabit. However, the often-low productivity and resilience to varying mountain environments mean that impoverishment and human vulnerability are higher in mountains than in other global habitat types. India’s chains of mountain village livelihoods are in impact maintained financially and get products from outside the region, and significantly urban centres and intensive agriculture within the plains. This represents major challenges if sustainable livelihoods are to be brought into balance with productive ecosystems.

Whilst a sample of two communities, one addressing governance establishments and also the different interviewing residents, cannot represent the total diversity across a heterogeneous State like Himachal Pradesh, the distinctive variations in inconvenience and also the formality of devolved governance between the two communities within the middle chain of mountains region provides a distinction from that additional general observations may be derived.

Low demand sufficiency could be a principal driver of a considerable emigration of younger men from the cannabis to different migrating out for good, seeking financial gain to secure remaining life desires though this additional crop is specially sourced from outside the Himalaya Mountains. This form of poverty imposes an asymmetrically high pressure on women and the elderly, considerably because of the standard roles of women in resource management necessitating walking increasing distances because of environmental stresses and leaving less time to worry for themselves and their children and to contribute to productive activities.

Strictly a source of income for farmers

Today, soft drugs are so common in some elements of Asian nations that it may be found in government-licensed street stands. In sum, the flavorer plant, cannabis, contains a long and continuous history in India. It's lived for thousands of years in stories of gods and warriors and it continues to be measured nowadays in spiritual ceremonies but now it needs to be used as an economy booster.

Although the history originates with its religious use, that’s hardly what it’s being fully grown for currently. These villages are virtually utterly dependent on the financial gain that their cannabis plantations usher in, with little else occurring in the village at all. The only different businesses are small retailers merchandising vegetables and cigarettes. Even though they work hard and produce tons of Himalayan hashish every year, they still live what we might contemplate quite a humble life.

However, since the drug was illegitimate in India in 1985, there has been pressure on a national and world scale to curb cannabis production within the chain of mountains natural depression, many farmers overtly encourage the expansion of charas. It's thought-about by several to be the best hashish within the world. Thousands of families in the region survive on charas production. Before 1985, charas was a trade as good as opium for the Himachal silk route to the Tibet route. Farmers sell the organic compound to foreigners, however additionally to Indians from huge cities. Demand is rising; new guesthouses and venues for smoking charas sprout each season, with one gram of the organic compound cost accounting for the maximum amount as $20 in Western countries.

Himalayan communities are uncommunicative. Strenuous workers live in extreme conditions, and infrequently with no different career choices. Several farmers have not cultivated something legal in their life. Cultivation, production, use, context—everything is imbued with spirituality and faith. Yet today, it’s all concerning the business, with villagers merchandising charas to survive.

History of Cannabis trade in Afghanistan, China, and India

Afghanistan is believed to have one of the oldest continuous cannabis cultures in the world. The rulers of Afghanistan attempt to rapidly reform and modernize the political, economic, and legal systems. To discourage Afghans from using and trading cannabis products, as well as other drugs, inside the country, the ruler enacted the Penal Code, which put forth a series of strict punishments for users and suppliers. A 50 percent tax was placed on the distribution of charas, and bhang. So, what impact the countervailing domestic and foreign policies had on the precise locations of cannabis cultivation and production of charas within Afghanistan is less clear.

According to Russia, in the 1920s cannabis was found throughout the northern regions although cultivation was present in other parts of the country. Nonetheless, the policy established by Afghanistan had a tremendous impact on British India. Cannabis and opium that were legally produced in British India were taxed heavily by colonial officials and local authorities, and even though a market existed for Afghan cannabis to be traded legally, it too was taxed inordinately. As a result, the smuggling of Afghan hashish became a growing problem for British authorities as drugs produced in British India were so heavily taxed that they could not compete with the smuggled cannabis and opium from Afghanistan. Afghan cannabis began to make its way to markets beyond its borders.

It was in the Sixties that the cannabis trade in Afghanistan would bear its next vital evolution. Throughout this decade, thousands of travellers, several of whom were a part of the counterculture movement that was riveting abundant in the Western world, ventured through Afghanistan via the “Hippie Trail”. The trail was a catalyst for the ever-changing contours of the Afghan cannabis trade. Britishers destroy the cannabis market of Afghanistan that was due in part to the fact that many of those travellers found Afghanistan to be an ideal stop on the trail, significantly owing to its low cost and ample hasheesh and additionally because the United States of America is that the only one who controls the morphia market of Russia.

Given the overwhelming presence of opium in the Afghan economy nowadays, cannabis is usually overlooked as an integral piece of the Afghan drug economy. However, cannabis has, and still does, play an outstanding role in rural economic livelihoods, and native Afghan politics. By staring at the longer historical formation of the cannabis trade, throughout the Sixties and seventies, especially, the demand for Afghan hashes from Western traffickers led to the increased cannabis cultivation and larger-scale hashish production. In recent decades, cannabis cultivation remained extremely dispersed, but still omnipresent within the rural Afghan economy.

The grade of opium that grew in China was incompatible with the country’s smoking habits. Because of this, the Chinese imported opium from Bengal. When the East India Company noticed that there was a well-established opium market in China, it begins to flood it with Indian opium. This reversed Britain’s trade deficit with China and was a profitable way to finance empire-building activities in India. So while the revenue from cannabis was significant, it paled in comparison to the income from the opium trade. By 1843, opium was the second-largest source of colonial revenue in India.

In India's history, it is very clear that not any other country destroyed the Indian cannabis market, however lowering on its own because of legal policies created by the Indian government through the NDPS Act, 1985. This affects the Indian economy as well as the livelihood of many cannabis farmers especially in the Himalayan region where cannabis farms are the only source of income. Since the early ‘60s, the USA was campaigning on a worldwide ban on all kinds of drugs (both hard and soft). India resisted this pressure because using Cannabis was a way of life for us. The pressure to ban all kinds of drugs increased and we finally succumbed to it. Now, it's time for the Indian Government to stop being a slave of UN-backed policies.

The opportunities of the economy are somewhat diminished by complicated governance problems. Poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation efforts can be mutually reinforcing or placed in opposition to each other, depending on higher-level policies and decisions. Solutions are required for the sustainable economic development of biodiversity-rich regions, wherever the unemployment is rife, and also the temptation to exploit natural resources is high.

Should India legalize Cannabis? Why?

We only see legalizing Cannabis as a win-win situation for all.

  • Firstly, it gives many farmers an additional option for a crop. It is a known fact that when the production of a substance increases so do allied businesses. More business needs manpower and improves job opportunities.

  • Secondly, legalizing Cannabis makes its production formal and open. It will stop the illegal trade and supply of the herb and kill the black market.


Like in the past few months, cannabis occasionally dominates the national conversation, punctuated by calls for its decriminalization. But decriminalization alone may be insufficient. We must also change our discourse to consider cannabis as a substance in its own right – unburdened by the baggage of other intoxicants. Only then can we erase preconceived notions we may have about its effect on mental health and yield space for the medical community to deliver a verdict.

Watching the growth of the Cannabis industry closely, we believe that is on the verge of worldwide growth. India is sitting on a pot of gold because as a country we have immense knowledge about its use and favourable climatic conditions for its production.

We at Himalayan Hemp want India to become a key player in legalizing cannabis growth and carve a place for ourselves as a leading advocate of Cannabis-based products and become a problem solver for the agriculture crisis.


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