Every second day, a narcotics raid in Goa, ‘ganja’ most seized drug

Panaji, Feb 2 (IANS) On every second day that the sun sets on the horizon of Goa’s popular beaches, the state police logs one narcotics seizure.
According to statistics tabled during the recently concluded winter session of the state legislative assembly, from 2018-2020, 589 drug-related cases were booked in Goa spread over 1095 days. And the narcotic flavour of the season, predictably turns out to be ganja or grass or marijuana, one of the cheapest banned drugs which has accounted for 71.30 per cent of the total drug busts.
In 2018, ganja was seized in 169 police raids conducted by multiple agencies including local police stations, Crime Branch and the Anti-Narcotics cell of the Goa Police. In the same year, 51 instances of hashish (charas) seizure and 20 and 13 seizures of LSD and MDMA (both synthetic drugs) seizures were respectively reported.
The pattern also holds true in 2019, when ganja seizures topped the drug seizure list with 151 cases, while hashish, LSD and MDMA followed suit at 35, 11 and 21 respectively.
In 2020, the state witnessed 100 cases related to ganja seizures, followed by hashish (31), LSD (17) and MDMA (21).
“The cases related to ganja are more because it is available easily. As a police force we have been active in busting cases related to all banned drugs and narcotics substances,” police inspector in-charge of the Calangute police station Nolasco Raposo told IANS.
Ganja’s easy availability and its extremely low price point, as well as the fact that it often tends to be the ‘entry level drug’ for teenagers, takes it to the top of the police seizure list.
“What a Breezer is to the world of alcohol, ganja is to youngsters when it comes to drugs. It’s often the first step. It’s cheap and there is peer pressure to smoke that first joint to appear cool with friends,” a police officer attached to the state anti-narcotics cell said.
A large chunk of the cases booked related to seizures of ganja under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act are linked to migrant workers from Odisha and West Bengal, who travel to Goa on seasonal work.
“They carry a kilo or two along with them from these source states. They look at it as some additional money to make when they migrate to Goa on work, where there is demand for ganja,” the official said.
Another related trend, which makes the availability of ganja easy in Goa, is the phenomenon of indoor and outdoor plantations, several of which have been busted in the state over the last three years.
11 such plantations have been busted by police agencies in the North Goa coastal belt over the last three years, which resulted in the arrest of nearly 15 persons, including seven foreigners, mostly Russians who seem to prefer to grow ganja plants in controlled indoor environments.
According to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant there is readiness in the state government as well as the police machinery to crack down on the drug menace, especially related to students.
“Programmes for school and college students are organised to sensitise students regarding ill-effects of drug abuse. Letters have also been sent to the heads of educational institutions to furnish information to the police, in case any drug-related activities are noticed around their respective institutions,” Sawant said.
“Intelligence is also being collected and informants are deployed to find out persons indulging in drug activities,” the Chief Minister also said.
As far as ganja is concerned, Sawant has already been under much fire from the opposition, after it came to light that his government was considering a proposal by the Jammu-based Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine to allow legal farming of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
While the proposal was cleared by the Law department and placed before the cabinet for approval, Sawant has maintained that his cabinet would not clear the proposal.

- Advertisement -