As international borders remained closed through most of 2020 owing to the pandemic, officials from India’s drug law enforcement agency turned their attention towards cannabis dealers within the country, resulting in drug busts halfway through 2020 exceeding those in all of 2019.

As a region in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh emerges as India’s new cannabis capital, law enforcement agencies have started to actively crack down on those smuggling cannabis in the Visakhapatnam area (the state’s executive capital). In the past year, hundreds of kilos have been seized by cops almost every month. According to The Times of India, over 3,000 kgs of marijuana were seized in Vizag (another name for Visakhapatnam) alone, with over 170 people being arrested. Owing to this rise in vigilance, dealers are now shifting to an innovative alternative: hashish oil.

“After multiple huge consignments of ganja (Indian slang for marijuana) were seized by the DRI (India’s apex anti-smuggling agency), excise and police departments in Telangana and Andhra pradesh, the suppliers started manufacturing hashish oil as an alternative. Unlike ganja, it is easy to conceal and transport hashish oil,” said an excise official.

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