Drugs on the Road

Marijuana in India, Morocco, Spain and California

Marijuana will grow just about anywhere but the good stuff usually comes from the mountains. In Africa today the hashish industry is mostly centered around Morocco up in the Rif Mountains where there are huge farms to supply the demand in Europe. The plants are gathered and beaten so that the flowers fall loose. Then these buds are pressed together and the resulting resin is hashish.

In Morocco it’s largely a family business and there are vast smuggling networks that drive speedboats loaded with produce over the short crossing to the beaches of Spain. Sacks get lost every now and then and it’s a lucky hippy that goes beachcombing after the black moon – the favoured time to make the dash for it as there’s less light to give them away to the coastguard patrols.

The Himalayas are also famous for their charas, a slight variation on the theme where the resin is collected by hand-rubbing the flowers. This is a laborious task and at the end of the day you may only have collected about 10 grams of sticky charas on your palms.

In fact the less you collect the better as the quality is likely to be higher. High up in the valleys of Parvati and Malana the experts produce a superior grade of charas known as cream. This can be so sticky as to be almost molten in a hot climate.

Ironically the charas experts these days in many of the valleys are Italians – they’ve brought their national sense of excellent taste even to the Himalayas. They maintain high standards of charas in the spirit that they would cultivate good tomatoes. Not only that but the Italians have developed designer chillums. Whereas you can buy the simple clay pipe for around a dollar in India there are now mirror-worked chillums available in Milan for up to $500.

The police keep threatening to go and burn fields up in the Himalayas but the matter is usually solved amicably.

Straight weed can be found all over South America and even Europe these days with the rise of hydroponically-cultivated plants. Bred to super strength this marijuana lines the shelves of the coffee shops in Amsterdam. Names like skunk, northern lights and sensimilla become kinda hard to spell after a couple of joints.

Nowadays some of the best marijuana in the world is the California weed. Thanks to the medical marijuna legislation, hippies and farmers can now grow up to 99 plants in their homes – the best of the best fetch around $6000-9000 a kilo.

Producing hashish or charas takes skill and experience but good results can be had for the first timer growing marijuana. In a warm, mountainous climate a good crop can be raised if equipped with good seeds and sound advice. Some do this for financial gain but as one friend of mine put it living beside his marijuana patch in Spain:

“All my life I exchanged money for weed. Now I should exchange my weed for money?”

Or in the true spirit of the 60’s and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers:

“Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”