The discovery of cannabis plants being grown in a wado in Candolim has set the alarm bells ringing. It at once shows the pervasiveness of drugs in Goa and the growing boldness of those in the business of producing and supplying it. Cannabis, which is known by various names such as weed, pot, hashish and marijuana, has been brought for years through illegal channels from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and of late from the districts on the Goa-Maharashtra border. For the past few years there have been reports about cannabis grown amid other plants in the Sindhudurg district for the markets in Goa and other states. It is true that cannabis is not available only in Goa: it is available in almost every state as it has been grown since ancient times. The methods of its consumption have been various – from smoking to eating cakes or sweets made out of it or drinking its paste. In Goa, the most common method of consumption has been smoking. Among the consumers are foreign and domestic tourists as well as a growing number of Goan youth.
The growing addiction of Goan youth to pot has been a matter of concern. There is no doubt that the police laxity, inability and corruption that has led to the narcotic drugs being commonly available in Goa is responsible for the growing addiction among Goan youth. There are stories galore on the internet written anonymously by traders and consumers of drugs in Goa. Cannabis in its various forms remains the biggest attraction of consumers. There is plenty of information on the internet about the places where cannabis is available easily in Goa. The sites even mention prices of low, medium and high quality. They also mention with whom it is usually available. For instance, one site mentions internet cafes as the best places to get weed! Those interested are advised to approach “Hindu boys” who go for “clubbing” who may be the best source for getting weed.
There are also the internet sites on which consumers of weed in Goa narrate their experiences. Going by their narration, two things become very clear: One, cannabis is available very easily in the coastal belts of North Goa and South Goa; and two, even if a consumer is caught by policemen nine out of ten chances are that they would let them go if they were willing to pay a bribe. One of the consumers, obviously a student from another state here in Goa with his friends, writes: “We rolled up a couple of joints and were casually walking to the beach at 1 a.m. in the night. Suddenly a police vehicle stops by and a policeman begins to search me. He checked my jute bag, my lose pockets and everything. He found none and was disappointed at first. The policeman insisted that [my friend] empty his pockets inside out. It was at the moment a chocolate flavoured joint slipped [out of his pocket] and fell to the ground. Another policeman from the back instantly grabbed it and pushed my friend into the vehicle. My friend began his act, repeatedly telling the policeman that he was a student and that he was sorry. I began to take out my wallet and offer whatever was in it. The policeman asked where we were staying and after we told him (A big mistake, we had more weed back at the room) he took us there. The policemen spoke Konkani, of which I had a bit of knowledge. They were talking about how big our group could be, how scared my friend was (he really did a nice job sobbing) and what amount they should be asking for! They checked our wallets and we had little. Four of my friends were out (we were more than 18). They gathered around the vehicle and said how we were supposed to leave the next morning, how this action could bring down our careers and all the regular soap. The policemen began educating us about how costly the affair could be if an FIR was lodged and other scary stuff. After a bit of talking the policemen demanded Rs 20,000, to get us out! But my friends stuck to their story of us being students and not being able to afford that much! We finally settled to an amount of Rs 7,000.”
It is such police complicity that allows drug business to spread. Goa’s policemen have been using their powers and authority to extort and blackmail drug traders and consumers. It is they who are responsible for making those in drug business so fearless that they are now growing cannabis right in Candolim! It is not going to stop.