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Smoking Dope In India


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#1 cyberhippie

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 03:11 PM

Smoking dope in India that comes up often on a travel forum, it's a tricky subject and illegal in India. Nonetheless people will still do it despite the laws and this remains very much part of the Culture of India and it is grown all across the Himalaya and In Tamil Nadu and kerala.
I advise extreme caution if you're going to light up a spliff and think long and hard about what you're doing and the risks involved!


The following is a cyberhippie guide to what the scene entails!!

First of all the law, the narcotics law was amended in 2001. The old draconian law of an automatic 10 year sentence with no bail for the simple possession of cannabis has been done away with. Instead the law now recommends a sentence of up to 6 months or a fine or both for the possession of up to 100 grams.
A possession charge of more than 100 grams now carries a sentence of up to 10 years or a fine or both. Both offences are now bailable!!!
This law it seems is in now in force in some states while others stick to the old severe punishment scenario, so be careful!

A few travellers in India will have you believe that should you get caught it's a simple case of handing over a few hundred rupees to the police and you walk scot free.
Wrong big time, in the event that you are able to bribe your way out of a situation I can assure you it will cost you a lot more than a few hundred rupees. And contrary to popular traveller myth not all policemen will accept a bribe!! So it is better to try and avoid this scenario with some simple precautions that I will come to later!!
Lastly the advice about not letting a situation get as far as the police station, if you're thinking of greasing palms do it there and then, as a trip to the local cop shop will get very messy, with a lot more and bigger palms to grease before the whole thing is sorted out. If you're going to do it, do at the scene of the crime!!

Many folks talk about bhang lassis and the old myth of lassis being laced with detura?? This is just that, a myth, the chances of you getting a lassi laced with detura or anything else is practically non existent. Most of the people who sell bhang lassis are doing all right thank you very much, they have no access to detura and have no wish to jeopardize a very viable business. Perhaps this has happened in the past although I have never met anyone who has had a spiked lassi. I imagine this myth grew up with the many people who try a strong lassi because they smoke at home, they have then been shocked by the potency of their lassis leading them to believe they have had something other than bhang. As I say these vendors make a nice little profit on bhang lassis and are not in the business of giving their customers some kind of horror trip!!
Bhang lassis are also drunk by the locals but mostly only at special times like the holy festival of Shivratri
So what exactly is bhang?? Bhang is a preparation using the whole plant, leaves bud and stalk.To the plant content is added water (the plant is sometimes boiled to make the process easier) it is then pounded in kind of mortar and pestle affair removing all the sinewy plant material as you go. The result is a greeny black putty like substance that looks just like Indian or Pakistani hash, although you cannot smoke bhang!!! This is added to curd with lots of sugar and the magic ingredient black pepper.
The sugar helps the fast digestion process (this is why lassis kick in quite quickly beware!!) and the pepper is supposed to soften the blow to the stomach.
Most places that sell bhang lassis no longer prepare their own bhang using instead the mass produced pellets or gollies available in many places in India from you local paan wallah!! One of the best kept secrets in India. Well a lassi will cost you 25 rupees at least, the gollies cost about 1-3 rps each and the curd cost almost nothing, so work it out!! The most popular brand name for bhang, are ghanesh gollies!!
The effect of these lassis in comparison to a joint can be quiet profound so it's better to start of slowly don't think because you smoked at home you will be prepared for the effects, you might be fine, you might not, it's better to veer on the side of caution with lassis. Buy a mild one first of all and see how you go, yes you can stipulate how strong you want your lassi just tell the vendor it's your first one and he will see to it that you don't receive a dose that could spin you out!!


How to go about finding some bhang or dope(charras)
Whilst Pushkar, Varanasi and Udaipur are probably the most famous places for bhang lassis they are to be had in many places in India, ask around for a "special lassi" and someone will know if they are available!!
Buying hash or grass in India is not too difficult but it is by no means available everywhere you go in India. In a few places in India there are government outlets or Government Bhang shops as they are known. These outlets sell grass (poor quality!) and sometimes lassis or sweets containing bhang. The two I know of are in Varanasi and Puri with Varanasi being the best with its selection of sweets etc!!
The other way to buy, is from the street or "black market" for the want of another name!! here I don't recommend asking too many locals as you will attract unwanted attention by doing this instead ask other travellers, they will generally know who has what and where, also the chances are if the"dealer" is a known source buying from him will not lead to any untoward situations!!
Although rare and I stress this it is very rare some people are not above selling you the charras then tipping of the local police!! very rare but it does happen!!
The prices vary from place to place but for charas (hash) expect to pay around 150 - 300 for a tola(10 grams) in the mountains where it is made to around 600-1200 in places like Goa!!
In the south Kerala grass is available from around 100 to 300 for a bag of around 7 grams!! The quality of this varies from hay like to something approaching skunk, looking for bud is generally a good indication that what you are buying is OK
The best of the best in India is Melana cream, a name you will hear bandied around a lot in India, especially by people looking to part you from your money!!! Don't even bother with the quest for this holy grail, Melana Cream is difficult to find, it took me 8 years and then I scored from a tried and trusted source, the bog standard hash in India is perfectly OK no need to part with large sums of cash for some fake Melana!!

The local have in most cases no problem with you smoking dope, it is of course part of India's cultural heritage. However as at home it's nice to be polite. Not everybody appreciates the bouquet of burning hash, in fact many people find the smell repulsive, so restaurant owners are not happy if you spark up and lose him customers!! As well as that he will also receive a lot of police bother should you be caught in his restaurant skinning up!! So use your head and be discreet!! I have in my time seen many smokers who behave terribly in India lighting up Chillums in restaurants much to the chagrin of owner and guests alike. Don't be selfish remember other people have the right to personal choice as well!!!!!

Some rules of engagement need to be followed in India to minimize the risks (notice the word minimize! There is no sure way to avoid being caught)

1. Try to avoid having it on your person too much and never travel with it!! I have personally been searched three times on a train and believe me, had I been stupid enough to have it on me they would surely have found it. The police were, how can I say this, very efficient!!
2. Avoid smoking in restaurants, for all the reasons I mentioned above and because it is a great way to see the inside of an Indian police station!! Smoke in your room, burn incense, and be tidy throw out all the paraphernalia that comes with smoking, ripped papers roach ends etc, and if it's an option don't even keep the stuff in your room stash it outside until you need it!!
3. Try not to smoke everywhere you go, buying somewhere new carries it's own risks and you can generally only buy blocks of 10 grams, so if your only staying for a couple of days in one place you won't smoke it all, leaving you entertaining the idea of just taking it with you!! Wait until you are somewhere where it is readily available and where you plan to spend some time!!
4. Above all be discreet at all times, India offers plenty lonely spots to enjoy a joint, all the fools sitting around in Goa like they were in a coffee shop in Amsterdam are just that fools, this is 2003 the good? old days are long gone and you ain't proving anything to anybody by getting out your enormous chillum you bought in Anjuna!!
5. Its better not to let all and sundry know that you smoke. In Indian villages gossip travels like wildfire, and you never know who's going to mention it to the wrong person!!

I hope this has provided you with some insight into the scene in India and helps you make an educated decision.
I have smoked for years in India although it is by no means my only reason to go there. I try to follow all these principles and am very discreet!! Until now I have had no run in with the law (touch wood) so it is possible with some common sense!!
Wish you both a great trip, boomshanker!!!

#2 HowieUK

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 03:43 PM

Great post Cyber with extremely good advice.

Discretion being the key word which I follow when smoking the odd spliff in any country!

Howie

#3 crvlvr

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:10 PM

Another brilliant post Cyberhippie!

I have personally been searched three times on a train

I suspect foreign tourists are targeted more than the locals. Be more cautious than any locals who may be participating.

I don't know if there are any scams in India. But I was in Morocco and heard that the locals offer free dope to smoke to tourists and the police just "happen" to bust them. the tourist is let off after he/she has paid a huge bribe. Apprently, they are locals rings who work with the police on scam like this.

What would be great is a follow-up wth what to and what not to do if/when one gets caught by law enforcement.

#4 Merchant

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:22 PM

Bottom line? If you get caught, you are completely at the mercy of India's legal system, perhaps even some corrupt part of it. There's nothing anyone will be able to do to help you--not the your consulate, not a local lawyer. There's no winking and nodding or paying your way out of a drug offense. You might be charged, perhaps wrongly, with trafficking, at which point you will be even more screwed. The possibility of spending time in an Indian prison is very real. India takes dim view of foreigners using drugs.

A post about how to smoke dope in India does no one any favors.

#5 HowieUK

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:33 PM

I wouldn't presume to talk for someone else, but the facts are that lots of, particularly young people, smoke dope and do not see smoking a natural plant as a criminal offence wherever they are! (come to that there are plenty of us older people still smoking the stuff too! (38 years smoking and still counting!)

Giving people 'real' and'honest' information allows them to make informed choices!

Howie

#6 retiredchutney

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:53 PM

merchant..

I would rather know about this than be ignorant of it. you know it very well exists pretty extensively around the tourist circuit if not outside of it... and we might as well talk about it as CH has. [thanks CH]

however, I agree with your assessment of the Indian jail system. dont think I would wish anyone on it but I do believe in some cases if you really have rich or influential asses as relatives..you could weasel your way out..but this is extremely small minority of the cases!

I would advise the first time travellers to not even think about it unless they are in remote places! and are among reliable people!

#7 grantaustralia

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 11:12 AM

4. Above all be discreet at all times, India offers plenty lonely spots to enjoy a joint, all the fools sitting around in Goa like they were in a coffee shop in Amsterdam are just that fools, this is 2003 the good? old days are long gone and you ain't proving anything to anybody by getting out your enormous chillum you bought in Anjuna!!


2003 :)
That must have been some strong dope!
<_<

#8 cyberhippie

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 10:46 PM

There's nothing anyone will be able to do to help you--not the your consulate, not a local lawyer. There's no winking and nodding or paying your way out of a drug offense.




Merchant the FACTS are hardly 1 in 1000 caught by the authorities even sees, the inside of a police station, as they all just pay off the copper. who is quite happy to take your cash and let you go on your way!!

You could still be the one though and that's why I urge a lot of thought before lighting up in India!!

I've had dope scored for me by policemen and had a nice chat and smoke with a magistrate (he wasn't partaking).
This is India, there are two very different sides to every coin.

I'm not advocating smoking dope in India, I'm laying out the info people need if they decide to have a smoke!

India didn't even want to join the cannabis covenant of 61, they actually stood up in the UN and said so, they were eventually paid off, to toe the line of the west!

Dope is part and parcel of Indian culture and always has been, this year there were licenses issued to growers for the first time, ok it's a grey rule as it's for hemp but the authorities know full well what is actually being grown!!

Again folks, think LONG AND HARD about the possible consequences of a smoke in India, It's so crazy most of the time anyway, you might find that you really don't feel the need!!

Take care

#9 Merchant

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 11:50 PM

Your cavalier attitude isn't helpful. Your "hardly 1 in 1000" is pure speculation. This is what the US consulate has to say:

http://Mumbai.uscons...egulations.html

Narcotics: In India, drug use and addiction are increasing. The officials responsible for the suppression of drug trafficking (Customs and other enforcement agencies) are growing more conscious of this problem and arriving/departing foreigners are generally more carefully scrutinized.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 provides for stringent penalties and control regulations. For instance, the import into India, export from India and transshipment of narcotic drugs are all punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and up to 20 years, and with a fine of not less than Rs.100,000 and up to Rs. 200,000. Persons possessing small quantities of narcotics (such as cocaine, morphine, diacetyl-morphine) intended for personal consumption are subject to imprisonment for up to one year, with or without fine depending upon the court's judgment. If the substance intended for personal use is other than those mentioned above, the prison sentence is for up to six months, with or without fine.

Emphasis added.

People can do whatever they want. But there are serious and unpleasant consequences to getting caught with drugs in India. You do not want to be at the mercy of the courts or the cops. You are a western tourist involved in a criminal act. You are an easy mark, a big obvious cliche in places like Goa, and you can be quite screwed.

The hippie-dippie druggie culture is long gone. People should know that.

#10 cyberhippie

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 12:15 AM

It's not pure speculation Merchant it's a set fact's born of expereince, can I ask how you are arriving at your conclusions???
Because you are way wide of the mark on this one.


Just in Palolem in 2 short months over a hundred swoops by the police on individuals arrests 0 bribes paid over a hundred
A guy I know arrested three years ago with $6000, 5500 Rupees and 800 grams, arrested and let go minus his money????
I also Know people who got jailed but you wouldn't need all the fingers of one hand to count them!!

Merchant I'm talking about real life here, not some "Travel Advisory" from a suit in the rareified atmosphere of the US diplomatic corp, I don't make stuff up to impress, this is the reality in India and if you don't know that I'm frankly shocked at your ignorence (I mean that in the nicest possible way)

As for the hippie/smoking era being over in India well all I can say is I don't think you really know what your talking about here, that really is total speculation and frankly totally wrong!
Have you been to
Kasar Devi
Arambol
Palolem
Anjuna
Vagator
Pushkar
kasol
Manali
Dharamsala
Vashist
Rishikesh
Gokarne
Hampi
Varkala
Puri
Mahaballipuram

And a whole load more, if not, go, then tell me smoking is dead in India!
Thousand of smokers passing through these places every year, with very very few arrests and convictions.
Only the big guys go down occasionally for crazy amounts!


US travel warnings are notoriously over the top as you well know!


Anyway let's not decend into argument I'm talking from experience and have been totally honest about the situation!!

And Again I am not trying to trivialise the risks they are real but so are the amounts of people who walk away!!

#11 Somerset

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 01:15 AM

You might be charged, perhaps wrongly, with trafficking, at which point you will be even more screwed. The possibility of spending time in an Indian prison is very real. India takes dim view of foreigners using drugs.

A post about how to smoke dope in India does no one any favors.



Dude! You harshed my buzz!
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#12 kullukid

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 06:56 PM

[quote name='Merchant' date='May 13 2006, 07:20 PM' post='3554']
Your cavalier attitude isn't helpful. Your "hardly 1 in 1000" is pure speculation. This is what the US consulate has to say:

Come on Merchant, you have a very weak point if you have to start quoting the U.S. consulate. Don't you realise at least 90% of the world (americans included) are going to disagree! kk

#13 Merchant

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 09:50 PM

The consulate site simply quotes Indian law. It's not editorializing or offering trumped up warnings. It's not a travel advisory.

Smoke all the dope you want. Just don't think you can wink your way of a bust if it comes to that.

#14 crvlvr

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 10:26 PM

Merchant and Cyberhippie both raise good points. Both have pointed out that the laws exist, and if enforced can be harsh.

I don't think Cyber's post is encouraging anyone to do drugs. But, we do need to discuss these things as it provides important information to travellers.

I know a lot of travellers who think it not illegal in India. Such incorrect conclusions are usually drawn when they see drugs being done openly in India. Its better for these travellers to read of the consequences of getting caught before they get lured into doing it by assuming that they are no laws in India.

Laws in India are not enforcd with the regularity that we see in western countries. Take traffic laws for example. I have seen people run red lights. Does that mean its legal to do that? Of course not. Unfortunately, if one gets caught in India, the legal system is painfuly slow.

#15 dzibead

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 10:36 PM

crvlvr, you make good points.

And to Merchant and CH: I don't think you guys are as much at odds as you seem to think you are! Your points are actually quite similar, but with slightly different emphasis. And you can take that as the professional assessment of one whose job requires the careful scrutiny of arguments put forth by opposing parties --I'm a lawyer and also a part-time planning commissioner for my city - a "quasi-judicial" position :D
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#16 HowieUK

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 11:34 PM

Agree dzibead!

Gather all the information available and make your decision based on that!

(and I'm no lawyer just working on good 'old' common sense!)

Howie

#17 dzibead

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 05:53 AM

just working on good 'old' common sense!)


And if more of us lawyers did that, the world would probably be a better place! :)
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#18 Shyam from NJ

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:18 PM

Those of you, particularly westerners, want to go to India and do drugs, I do have a suggestion for you.

Thirty years ago, I was a student in Kolkata and my college was a part of the Kolkata downtown. There was a small shop just outside my college and it sold all kinds of drugs including marijuana. As far as I knew none of my fellow students did drugs. At least I did not know of anyone who visited that shop. However, I saw large number of westerners frequenting that shop and got high and became public nuisance. Even 30 years later, I still have that image of dazed westerners in Kolkata streets walk like zombies.

MY ADVICE: Regardless of the legal implications, if you decide to do drugs in India, please do it discreetly in your hotel room and do not become public nuisance. Respect our culture and our children and young people.

#19 Guest_yogagal_*

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:26 PM

I still have that image of dazed westerners in Kolkata streets walk like zombies.


gee, and I thought that look was caused by dealing with aggressive touts all day! B)

#20 cyberhippie

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:39 PM

LOL yogagal

MY ADVICE: Regardless of the legal implications, if you decide to do drugs in India, please do it discreetly in your hotel room and do not become public nuisance. Respect our culture and our children and young people.



Couldn't agree more, keep it discreet not everyone finds the smell or use of dope ok, try to remember that, as you're a guest in India!