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Friday , 17 November 2017
Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields
A villager walks through a cannabis field in Oct. 2013.

Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields

Time Magazine recently reported an incredible story about the Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields.

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills at an altitude of 10,000 ft. (3,000 m), entire villages and communities subsist on illegal marijuana production. These villages are far from any paved roads and are so remote that distances are measured in hours of walking.

 A woman and her granddaughter walk back from the cannabis fields in Oct. 2013.


A woman and her granddaughter walk back from the cannabis fields in Oct. 2013.

Across thousands of acres of public and private land, villagers grow cannabis which is then turned into a high-quality resin know as charas. “On the global market, charas is sold as a high quality hashish,” says Italian photographer Andrea de Franciscis, who has been documenting these communities for the past three years. “The farmers who produce the costly resin get very little in return and struggle to survive against always tougher legislation.”

De Franciscis has chosen an anthropological angle to photograph these villagers, with the goal of producing a complete story that also focusses on culture and tradition. “Life is challenging in the mountain,“ he tells TIME. “Women work as much as men, and the feeling is that it’s rather a matriarchal society.”

Cannabis plants sit outside a farmer's house in Nov. 2014.

Cannabis plants sit outside a farmer’s house in Nov. 2014.

Cannabis has deep roots in Indian society dating back to as early as 2,000 BCE within the Hindu scriptures. However, since the drug was outlawed in India in 1985 there has been pressure on a national and global scale to curb the cannabis production in the Himalayan valley. But, says de Franciscis, this has only “led to an increase of the price [of charas] on the global market, and has actually worsened the situation of the villagers whom have no real alternative for their livelihood.”

 A group of children play near the cannabis fields with bows and arrows made out of cannabis stalks in Oct. 2013.


A group of children play near the cannabis fields with bows and arrows made out of cannabis stalks in Oct. 2013.

 

About Joy Lynskey

Joy Lynskey

Joy Lynskey is the Managing Editor for Marijuana Connect.