22 October 2010
By Ch Sushil Rao
Now, the home grown narcotic substance ganja that gives a high comes in attractive packaging to lure the uninitiated into drugs.
Ganja chocolates are a mixture of jaggery and ganja, made to look like chocolates and also packed neatly. It costs up to Rs 50 per chocolate.
Such ganja chocolates were seized in Chennai and three people were arrested in June for trying to sell them near colleges and educational institutions.
Earlier this month on October 9, two persons were arrested when they were selling ganja chocolates at a dry fruits shop near Poorna market in Visakhapatnam. "We have stepped up our intelligence system to track known offenders who could be selling ganja chocolates. We have even seized some ganja chocolates in Hyderabad," said P V Sunil Kumar, director, enforcement, prohibition and excise department.
Sunil Kumar told The Times of India that ganja chocolates were mainly being sold by peddlers to those who were already habituated to chewing tobacco products. The ganja chocolates may not be openly available but are sold surreptiously to known customers and those who want them. Peddlers are said to hover around their usual spots and are available at certain timings for their customers.
Ganja cultivation is usually taken up in unapproachable fields in the midst of other crops that are cultivated, including chillies. Strangely, Andhra Pradesh officials who know about ganja cultivation in some places claim they are unable to reach there and destroy the crop. An official said they were aware that ganja was being cultivated in large tracts at some places on the Orissa border in Visakhapatnam but have not been able to reach the place.
"Since it is a naxalite–infested place, even the police do not dare go into those areas. It is only when the ganja is being transported out of those areas that we get some information and it is possible to seize it," an official said.
It has been detected that ganja is also being mainly cultivated on the sly in the Narayankhed area of Medak district close to the Maharashtra border.
In Bhimla Sankar thanda of Munur in Medak district, excise officials had destroyed ganja crop worth Rs 4 crore which was being cultivated on a six–acre land in November last year.
Ordinarily, the tobacco in a cigarette is replaced by ganja and is smoked. But with ganja chocolates now sold by peddlers, excise officials are trying to find out if they are being sold even near colleges and schools.