Marijuana (Charas) its Empire in India Charas is the name given to a hashish form of cannabis which is handmade in Afghanistan

, Pakistan, Nepal and India. It is made from the resin of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica). The plant grows wild throughout Nepal, Northern India, Pakistan and theHimalayas (its putative origin) and is an important cash crop for the local people. Charas plays an important and often integral role in the culture and ritual of certain sects of the Hindu religion, especially among the Shaivs — the sub-division of Hinduism holding Lord Shiva is the supreme god)—and it is venerated by some as being one of the aspects of Lord Shiva. Despite this long history, charas was made illegal in India under United States pressure in the 1980s and severe sentences were introduced. Even the merepossession had a mandatory ten year prison sentence. These laws have now been somewhat relaxed; however, charas has remained a popular medium for police to extort money from consumers of the drug.[1] Even at the peak of the crackdown, charas was still popular and remains so today, especially amongst Indian sadhus. The Naga Sadhus, Aghoris andTantric Bhairav sects smoke it freely as an integral part of their religious practice. Many smoke it in clay pipes called chillums, using a cotton cloth to cover the smoking end of the chillum and inserting a tightly packed pebble-sized ball of cannabis as filter under the chunk of charas. Before lighting the chillum they will chant the many names of Shiva in veneration. However it is fast regaining the popularity it once enjoyed with younger generation of India regarding it as a recreational drug of choice. Its freely available in several places around India specially where there is a strong affluence of tourists (Goa,Delhi, Rishikesh, Varanasi, etc.). Although charas can be found in several places around India, its manufacturing can be traced only to specific locations in India such as, Parvati Valley, (Kasol, Rashol, Malana ("Malana cream"), Kashmir as well as several other places in the northern India. In southern India there are also several places where charas is manufactured. Charas can be found in many places around India simply because there are people that take charas from the "source" to distribute it in areas where there is a substantial demand of it (usually areas with a lot of foreigners). The nominal price of charas in these areas is substantially higher than in the places where charas is made.

Production of Marijuana in North India High quality hashish in India comes from cannabis grown in the mountains. The variety from Himachal Pradesh is considered to be of the highest quality throughout India. It is easily available in Shimla, Naldera, Karsog, Narkanda, Kullu & Rampur—practically every area in Himachal Pradesh. For this reason, the Indian subcontinent has become very popular with backpackers and drug smugglers. During hand-harvesting the resin sticks to one's palms and by the end of the day one has perhaps 8 or 9 grams of charas. The faster one works, the lower the quality of charas; hence to make "Manali cream" it is necessary to go very slowly and make only a few grams a day. Nowadays production of cannabis in the Himalayas has increased with growing demand for Malana cream;

the ancient art of manufacturing is disappearing under the pressure to capitalize on the domestic and international market for charas. High quality charas were also produced in Nepal and sold in government monopoly stores in Kathmandu until the government gave in to international pressure and got out of the business in the 1970s. Rolpa district in western Nepal was a production center, with ganja and charas both an important cash crop in this extremely isolated, underdeveloped and impoverished region.

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