BENGALURU: A section of city’s youngsters who are hooked on weed have come up with an ingenious method to hoodwink the cops and avoid detection while distributing marijuana (also known as cannabis) among ‘close friends circle’. They no longer have to approach street drug peddlers for weed any more. They have taken to growing marijuana in balconies and terraces of their rented homes.
And the police are clueless about it. By doing this, they are not only effectively avoiding the police, but are also ensuring a steady supply of weed to their friends and for their own consumption.
To assist them in their illegal venture, these young weed growers are using online manuals and easy-to-procure technologies.
“A small balcony or a terrace, a two-gallon pot, a humidifier, two bright LED lights, a grow tent, an air duct and a filter are all that is needed to grow marijuana in your house,” Brijesh Saxena, a 21-year-old, proudly declares. While the city's Women and Narcotics squad and the special squads formed are trying to track the peddlers in the city, Brijesh is one among a growing tribe in Bengaluru conveniently growing “enough weed” on his terrace to keep himself and his close friends “happy”.
“It is risky to buy weed from peddlers. They not only charge high rates by citing threat of being caught, but there is also a threat of being exposed. There have been cases where my friends have been blackmailed. Peddlers threaten to send videos of us buying or smoking to our parents, colleges, etc,” Shreyank PS, a student, said.
Interestingly, many of those who are cultivating marijuana at home have become pros in even establishing their set-ups. “The set-up costs a maximum of `30,000. We pool in money and do it. It's safe and there is no risk of police finding out,” explained Brijesh.
While there are a few who cultivate in small quantities — sufficient for their friends and close circles — there are others who have started this as a business. They call it “organic and homegrown pot."
Interestingly, even after one such cultivator-peddler was arrested in Mangaluru, the city police seem to be clueless about such cultivation in Bengaluru. “No, that is not possible. You can grow weed among other plants and it is grown in the fields and some four-five cases we have heard of them growing in their gardens, but this kind is not possible,” Assistant Commissioner of Police, Women and Narcotics, Mohan Kumar, said.
According to information gathered by CE, there are students as young as 18 growing about 15-20 plants on their terraces. “Most plants are grown in rented flats or houses. This information is tough to leak as many of them use the grown weed only among their close friends. Those who want to peddle normally say, ‘my friend gave it’, and do not disclose the source,” said Anthony D, 19-year-old student from a well-known city college.
Strict action for cultivating
When explained about the recent trend of growing weed at home, ACP Mohan Kumar said, “Cultivating weed, if proven, amounts to 10 years’ imprisonment and a very hefty fine, too. It is a very serious offence. We will surely investigate this and ensure that we raid the places and arrest them.”
Admitting that children as young as 13 are getting access to weed, Kumar said, “We are trying our best to control peddling in the city. Most notorious are Nigerians who are notorious for supplying, and they are being arrested. Fear has been created among them,” he said.
According to the ACP, there are approximately five to 10 drug peddling cases per month in the city. “While majority of them are to do with marijuana, there are cases of cocaine and LSD too, which are high on the list.”
Expressing concern over increase in the addiction among young boys and girls Dr Mahesh R Gowda, psychiatrist at Spandana Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre said, “It is a dangerous trend. I receive at least 15-20 cases per month where parents bring their young boys and girls to us with complaints of addiction to narcotics. It is not just marijuana, they are addicted to all kinds of drugs. Access to these has become extremely easy. If nothing is done about this, it will become an extremely sad situation.”
Most such set ups, according to sources, are located on Kanakapura Road, Banaswadi, and KR Puram. “North-east and south Bengaluru have the highest narcotics cases,” Mohan Kumar said.