Blessing in disguise: Drug peddlers say business hit

The Asian Age.  | nishtha grover

Metros, Delhi

The net effect could be that the circulation of recreational drug would be less during the Christmas and New Year’s week.

Demonetisation has come as a double whammy for drug peddlers in the capital as they are finding it difficult to sell their stock in the absence of higher-value currency.

New Delhi: Demonetisation has come as a double whammy for drug peddlers in the capital as they are finding it difficult to sell their stock in the absence of higher-value currency.

With the winter and party season kicking in, the dealers are also not being able to procure cannabis and other by-products of the plant.

The net effect could be that the circulation of recreational drug would be less during the Christmas and New Year’s week.

The robust market for marijuana, hash and charas in Delhi took a hit since people are unable to make payments to the local dealers.

Since procurement and selling is a covert affair, the labyrinthine lanes of Paharganj, where the dealers sell the “best quality” stuff from the northern part of the country to tourists, are witnessing almost “no major deals.”

“Abhi to foreigners ke paas bhi paisa nahi hai, warna roz ka Rs 1000-2000 ka maal bik jaata tha. Ab Paharganj mai to sabse zyada hash bikta hai. Hash marijuana se thodha mehnga aata hai. To log nahi kharid paa rahe hai. (Foreigners don’t have much money these days, otherwise daily sales easily range between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2000. Hash is more in demand here in Paharganj but it is costlier than marijuana. People can’t afford it these days),” a local dealer told this newspaper.

Marijuana, or weed, is the cheapest of the recreational drugs.

A small zip lock bag could cost anywhere between Rs 200-300.

Hash and charas are the higher quality variants of weeds which is available for around Rs 1,000 for a tola.

The dealer also explained that the problem is not just selling.

The ‘maal’ that comes to Delhi is mostly from Himachal Pradesh, where the locals grow hybrid seeds of cannabis brought in by foreigners.

“People are not able to get stuff from the neighbouring states like Himachal. The stuff is brought in large quantities and our payments are in cash. Now if we use online payment to sell ganja, we will be in jail in no time, that’s for sure,” said another dealer.

“I smoke occasionally, mostly in gatherings. But I am not going to stand in an ATM line to pay for this stuff. So I guess this year the parties would have no maal,” said a Delhi resident.

While demonetisation move has witnessed polarised debates all across the country, undoubtedly, it has — for now — successfully penetrated the thriving drug market.

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