Indians just keep on rolling.
Delhi and Mumbai ranked among the world’s top 10 cities with the highest rates of cannabis (marijuana or weed) consumption per year, according to a study by Seedo, an Israel-based firm that sells devices to grow weed at home.
Across the border, Pakistan’s commercial capital, Karachi, where cannabis trade is illegal, is the second-largest consumer of cannabis across the 120 cities surveyed for Seedo’s 2018 Cannabis Price Index.
In fact, these south Asian cities also sell some of the cheapest cannabis in the world, priced at between $4 and $5 for a gram, albeit of lower quality. On the other end, India is also home to one of the most expensive varieties of hashish.
In India, the cannabis plant grows openly in hilly regions, making it fairly accessible to users. However, its cultivation and trade are partially restricted.
The usage and legality of cannabis come under the purview of the ministry of finance, department of revenue, and are controlled by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. While India allows the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes (such as hemp that is used to make fibre), its consumption could lead to a jail term of six months or a fine of Rs10,000 ($157). Illegal production and cultivation can lead to a jail term of up to 10 years.
Yet, this hasn’t deterred Indians from smoking up. In fact, cannabis dominated India’s illicit drug trade, according to 2016 data on drug seizures.
Seedo studied the consumption and pricing of cannabis by looking at the top and bottom cannabis-consuming countries around the world. It then analysed nations where marijuana is partially or completely legal—or illegal—to prepare the final list of 120 cities. Prices per city are derived from crowd-sourced city-level surveys adjusted to the World Drug Report 2017 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Conversations around legalising the consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes have been gaining ground in India. In 2015, a member of parliament pushed to legalise marijuana, citing the benefits of consuming weed.