Dealers in India’s hill state of Himachal Pradesh have discovered a new way to sell their ‘stuff’ — the famed Himachali charas (cannabis).
They hunt down travelers through geo-tagged photos and hashtags on Instagram and turn them into potential buyers, Hindustan Times reports.
The charas is then delivered to customers either in person or via Speed Post, the government-run courier service.
“We can send up to 1 kg as the post department guys can pack that much in such a way that it won’t be detected,” one of the dealers was quoted as saying.
One kilo of the hash costs approximately Rs 200,000 ($3,056).
Sellers are constantly eyeing photos pinned to Kasol, Malana, Manali — locations popular for their hand-processed cannabis.
Sometimes dealers create accounts, post photos of neatly packed boxes, and leave their phone numbers in the caption. Interested buyers ‘follow’ the dealers after which interactions begin on Direct Message — Instagram’s private communication feature. Eventually, a deal is sealed.
At times, WhatsApp is also used for correspondence and bank account details are exchanged.
Both dealer handles (@boom_bawa and @boom536) that the report quoted have now gone missing from Instagram. That could be because selling hash is illegal in India. And police are always on the lookout for miscreants.
“Look, charas is sold here and is sent outside too. That’s a fact. And we constantly work on curbing it. We did get some input about such manner of selling (via social media) some months ago, but nothing much came of it… We are on it,” a local cop was quoted as saying.
And it generated some reactions on social media.
Putting the ‘hash’ in hashtag indeed!