Visakhapatnam: The ongoing special drives against cannabis, including destroying of plants and keeping a check on transportation of the green drug in Andhra Pradesh, has led to a hike in prices of the hemp in parts of the state and neighbouring states by around 40 per cent.
If the hemp cultivation is destroyed to a large extent, prices of the weed will further increase in local and national markets in the coming days due to shortage of supply.
The ganja smugglers have raised the prices of the weed and are adopting innovative methods to store and transport dry ganja from Vizag to other parts of the country following the series of raids on the illegal business. The ganja is now being stored at secret locations to be transported to the destinations. The excise department, with the support of police, revenue, forest and other departments, have destroyed over 46 lakh ganja plants spread across the 11 mandals of Vizag agency in the last two months, according to a senior excise officer.
It is estimated that ganja is grown over an extent of between 10,000 and 40,000 acres in Vizag and East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh and along the Andhra-Odisha border.
“The special drive agai-nst the ganja cultivation began in September 2017 as a pilot project and has so far we managed to de-stroy the weed plants in over 900 acres,” said S.V.V.N. Babji, assistant commissioner of excise (enforcement). The drive to destroy the weed plants along the AOB region also will continue, he added.
Exploiting the scare from the special drives, ganja traders are trying to reap maximum benefit by increasing the prices. A small pouch of 100 grams of ganja is now selling for Rs 900. It was earlier priced roughly at Rs 600 in Vizag.
AP top cop N. Sambasiva Rao said the price of a kg Vizag brand dry ganja in Bengaluru and other metro cities has touched Rs 40,000. “Most of the students in the state are addicted to the weed and have been paying hefty amounts to get kick.”...