Cops trying to seize control of one of Himachal Pradesh's top drug producing regions found new hybrid marijuana plants in remote forest of Malana village in Kullu district.
Cops in remote forestland in Parvati valley came across hybrid hemp plants during campaign launched by the state police to destroy cannabis cultivation across the state.
"These plants are smaller in size and have more seeds than other hemp plants that grow in wild" Suprintendent of Police (Narcotics) Dr Vinod Kumar Dhawan told Hindustan Times. "Plants have been genetically improved. It appears so that new strain of hemp had been developed after thorough research and analyses", added Dhawan.
Hemp is traditionally used by villagers to prepare rope and shoes. The hybrid plants found have broader leaves and high content resins that are used for extracting charas.
Discovery of hybrid plants have sent anti-narcotic agencies into tizzy making them believe that drug mafia had scattered seeds of hybrid hemp plants to extract high yield of charas to sell at exorbitant prices in the international market as well in key tourist spots in India, particularly in Goa. To market the local charas, drug peddlers have created their own brands - like black widow Skunk balls, AK-47.
Malana cream -name given to charas extracted from hemp in the forest land of Malana village still remains the most famous. "I cannot say whether it is hybrid hemp but certainly these plants are different" says Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Abhishekh Dhullar, who himself has led the cannabis destruction operation in Malana Village.
Hippies when made this forest lands their transit home in the mid-70s, introduced drug culture in Kullu valley. Drug culture in the valley changed the trend forcing many locals to abandon traditional fruit growing and take up lucrative cannabis cultivation.
Anti- narcotic agencies are struggling to curb the expanding chars trade in the valley that have now drawn peddlers from Nepal. The state police have jointly launched a massive campaign to destroy cannabis. For the first time cases have been registered against at least 20 person under the NDPS act after cops and revenue officials detected cannabis growing in private lands. Further to make cannabis destruction campaign more effective state government allocated Rs 1 crore under MNREGA for cannabis destruction. Till last month cannabis had been destroyed on 54,000 bighas of forest land across the state.