From Reverence to Reefer Madness: The Journey of Weed

Pop Culture

From Reverence to Reefer Madness: The Journey of Weed

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

I

t was 1978. Dylan, a British teenager with long hair and armbands, had first just heard of India, more importantly he’d heard that it was home to a form of cannabis that wasn’t available in the UK. It was hand rubbed from the resin of the marijuana plant that grew in the northern plains of our country – charas. Dylan scrounged whatever money he had left and booked a ticket to India, where he’d heard that marijuana was legally sold in government shops.

It’s worth mentioning here that 1978 was the year the The Who released their eighth studio album, Who Are You, and The Grateful Dead were on a tour in Egypt – in other words a great time to be high. But marijuana was illegal in the UK – it had been since the 1920s – and the fact that it grew along the streets of rural India had a certain pull to it.

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