How India’s cannabis is being sold on Instagram

Image: Getty Images

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 wont 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. Thats 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!

WATCH: Trump is president, but at least you can get high in four more states


Startups downplay tobacco as they talk up cannabis

Shops patronized by pot smokers have a long tradition of labeling their pipes and vaporizers for tobacco use only. But startups developing smoking and vaping gear are basically asking customers to put their weed in it.

Self-described cannabis product companies are raising capital in droves, while funding for startups in the e-cigarette space has all but, well, vaporized. Not a single company that mentioned tobacco, cigarettes or e-cigarettes in its Crunchbase profile raised a disclosed funding round in the past year. By contrast, at least 45 self-described marijuana and cannabis companies did.

Now, its true e-cigarettes were never exactly a smoking hot sector for funding. However, companies in the space do have some history of raising capital. NJOY, an e-cigarette brand launched in 2006, for instance, raised a total of $165 million in private equity funding and closed its last round in 2014 with a reported $1 billion valuation. PAX Labs, a maker of e-cigarettes and vaping products, closed on $47 million a year later.

The space has produced some sizeable exits as well, such as Altrias purchase of e-cigarette maker Green Smoke in 2014 for up to $130 million. There are also a number of public, small-cap e-cigarette companies, some of which have previously secured capital from private investors. One of them, Electronic Cigarettes International Group, for example, raised nearly $60 million in private financings in 2015.

Were not entirely sure why private e-cigarette funding evaporated this past year, but there are a few possible explanations.

Up In Smoke

One of the biggest likely deterrents is the U.S. Food & Drug Administration bringing more regulation to the space. Last year, the agency finalized rulesthat extend its regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Manufacturers will have to show that their products meet the applicable public health standards and will have to receive marketing authorization. Prior to the FDAs decision, many e-cigarette proponents, who see the products as a less harmful alternative to smoking, were hoping the agency would take a lighter approach toward regulation.

U.S. regulators arent the only ones eyeing the e-cigarette space. The European Union also enacted new rules last year pertaining to tobacco sales. The regulations add labeling requirements for e-cigarettes and set limits on nicotine concentrations levels.

The popularity of cannabis investing could also be motivating startups to downplay tobacco applications. There are more than twenty funds, incubators and investor groups in the Crunchbase database that identify cannabis as a favored theme for investment.

Meanwhile, not a single fund in the database mentions cigarettes or e-cigarettes as a focus area. That could lead startups developing vaping gear or other products that could conceivably be used for either pot or tobacco to play up the cannabis angle.

Part of the funding dearth may be due to lack of VC interest. Its hard to find a cigarette smoker in Silicon Valley, where caffeine and alcohol are the preferred indulgences and addictions (with cannabis not far behind). Thus, its not entirely surprising that the venture industry hasnt been a big backer of e-cigarettes.

That said, VCs do like growth, and research firms are predicting the electronic cigarette market will see massive global expansion over the next decade.

Outside The Valley

Globally, the e-cigarette market is poised to expand to over $47 billion by 2025, growing at a double-digit compound annual growth rate in the preceding decade, according to a forecast from BIS Research, a market research firm. While North America, and the U.S. in particular, will dominate the market, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at the fastest rate, accounting for more than a quarter of the global e-cigarette market by 2025, led by India and China.

Another advantage for e-cigarette companies is they have also generated exits in the past, as Big Tobacco looks to tap into the market. Tobacco giant Lorillard (now part of British American Tobacco (BAT)) acquired two e-cigarette makers, U.S.-based Blu Ecigs and UK-based SkyCig about four years ago, paying nearly $50 million for the latter. BAT itself purchased CN Creative, the maker of e-cigarette Intellicig, around the same time.

The largest U.S.-based cigarette purveyors, Philip Morris and parent company Altria, also entered the market about three years ago with the purchase of two e-cigarette players, NicoCigs and Green Smoke, paying $110 million and up to $20 million in incentive payments for the latter.

While the pace of exits may have slowed, at least there have been some big companies in the space. Cannabis companies, by contrast, dont have a natural deep-pocketed acquirer, as the substances historical illegality means there is no Big Cannabis to buy fledgling startups.


Beboe hopes to be the fancy side of cannabis for all you classy tokers out there

It’s high quality. It’s created by Hollywood design elite. It comes in rose gold containers and yes that is your only color option. It’s “the Herms of marijuana” and it’s, um, very pretty?

The company is called Beboe, and it wants to be the forefront of a new era in marijuana consumption unless sneaking a joint in the bushes outside before dinner is your thing, anyways.

Founded by celebrity tattoo artist Scott Campbell and fashion veteran Clement Kwan, Beboe offers only two products: a rose gold single-use vape “intentionally engineered for social consumption,” and low dose cannabis pastilles (which are just fancy little candies).

The brand “caters to design-savvy professionals who value premium goods manufactured with an artisanal sensibility,” according to the New York Times.

Beboe also comes with a pretty adorable backstory involving Campbell’s grandmother, Be Boe, who helped her daughter get through chemotherapy by baking weed brownies.

Campbell cites her history as the motivation for creating a product that doesn’t feel like you’re “buying weed from your parole officer,” but rather, is a more “upscale” experience.

Only available for sale in California, Beboe’s products are the result of Campbell and Kwan’s desire to fuse marijuana with “dinner party culture.” Where once you would bring a nice bottle of wine, now, a high quality vaporizer to pass around the table.

Did we mention it’s rose gold, and that’s the only option? You should start curating your dish ware accordingly. If being classy is, like, important to you.


A rabbi, a priest, and an atheist smoke marijuana and talk about religion

You might rememberCut from a video it released a few years ago that depicted three grandmothers smoking marijuanatogether. To date that video has nearly 27 million views and has spawned an entire series called Strange Buds. It includes episodes like former cops smoking weed together, parents smoking with their kids, and even a Trump, a Stein, and Clinton supporter hitting a bong.

Now Cut has revamped everyone’s favorite joke premise and invited a priest, a rabbi, and an atheist to enjoy some some pot together. The results are hilarious, enlightening and, at times, downright sweet.

The Rabbi is Jim Mirel and he begins the video by saying he’s there to “Experience one of God’s creations.” The priest isRev. Chris Schuller, who madewaves a year ago when he created a pro-marijuana video and posted it toFacebook. The atheist is a self-described “conservative homosexual” named Carlos.

Once the gentlemen are good and stoned, the stories start to come out. Carlos begins by saying at the age of 14 his priest denied his conformation because he had engaged in “homosexual acts,” and he was then excommunicated from this church. This leadto him questioning not only religion, but the existence of God. At one point, he’s visibly upset and demands “Why are there 37,000 kids dying every day? That’s not miraculous!”

screengrab via WatchCut Video/YouTube

After his story,Rabbi Mirel says that although Carlos might not believe in God per se, he seems to be a spiritual person who has faith in some sort of higher power, and to this, Carlos agrees.

Lest you think this is a video where two old guys try to convince a young man to come back to the church, the conversation feels much more like a freeform discussion about universal truth and the nature of God, so like basically the same shit everyone talks about when they’re super high.

One of the best moments occurs when Mirel is informed that he’s been holding a joint forever and someone finally asks if he needs a light. This cracks up Schuller and Carlos, and it’s a nice reminder that, oh yeah, these guys are really really stoned.

Schuller has perhaps his most enlightened moment when he says “Maybe this will work for all of us. Just think of God as all things true, knowing we don’t know all things.”

At this point, a twist is introduced and we find out it’s Ash Wednesday, which leads to Schuller using ash from their joints to put a cross on Carlos’s forehead. Unbeknownst to him, Schuller indulges in one of the most stereotypical stoner clichs when he gets super excited about the beautiful color of the ash.

Carlos returns the favor and gives Schuller a cross and, for good measure, Mirel gives Schuller a Carlos both a traditional Jewish blessing.

In the end, no one converts anyone, but the three men certainly walk away with something to think about and a perhaps a new set of friends. Add to this a butt load of free weed, and it’s not a bad day’s work.

H/T Huffington Post


Patrick Stewart Reveals He Uses Marijuana Daily To Help With Arthritis

Sir Patrick Stewart has opened up about his struggle with arthritis and how he turns to marijuana on a daily basis to combat its symptoms, according to a report from The Telegraph.

The 76-year-old X-Men actor shined a light on his green regimen this week while endorsing the U.K.s first program aimed at exploring the benefits of cannabis-based medicines.

In a statement, the English actor called the cannabinoidbiomedicine program out of Oxford University an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has for too long been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance.

Two years ago, in Los Angeles, I was examined by a doctor and given a note which gave me legal permission to purchase, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the ortho-arthritis in both my hands, he said. California has had some form of a medical marijuana program in place since 1996. In 2016, voters passed Proposition 64, which allowed for legal recreational use of marijuana in adults 21 and over.

Mark Blinch / Reuters
English actor Sir Patrick Stewart has revealed that he uses marijuana treatments to combat the painful effects of arthritis.

I purchased an ointment, spray and edibles. The ointment, while providing some relief from the discomfort, was too greasy to use during daytime and so I only use it at night, he said. It helps with sleep as the pain was reduced. The spray, however, is much more usable and I spray my fingers and particularly my thumb joints several times a day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 23 percent of adults in the U.S. or 54.4 million people have been diagnosed with arthritis. Of that number, 43.5 percent were found to suffer limitations in their usual activities because of the condition which is said to increase with age.

Stewart shared that his arthritis is believed to be genetic as his mother had badly distorted and painful hands.

I believe that the ointment and spray have significantly reduced the stiffness and pain in my hands. I can make fists, which was not the case before I began this treatment, he said.

Stewart went on to say that he hasnt had any negative side effects from using the cannabis and suggested that using alternative anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil, Aleve and Naproxen could be harsh on the liver and cause acid reflux.

LUIS ROBAYO via Getty Images
Cannabis is illegal in the U.K. In New York, where the 76-year-old actor currently resides, there are tight restrictions on medical marijuana use. 

Stewart, who has spoken of his desire to become a U.S. citizen since President Trump took office, currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.In New York state,medical marijuana still has tight restrictions, including a ban on smokeable forms.

Cannabis is illegal in the U.K. and,according to the BBC, its not recognized as having therapeutic value by the government in England and Wales.

The Huffington Post has reached out to representatives for Stewart and Oxford for comment, and will update this post accordingly.

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Someone dropped off a cooler full of marijuana at a Goodwilll

Someone took the concept of “goodwill” to the extreme recently when they donated a cooler full of marijuana to the Goodwill in Monroe, Washington.

Thecooler contained 3.75 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of around $24,000, depending on, you know, how dank dem nugs is.

Washington is actually one of the few states where marijuana is legal for personal use. Possession of up to one ounce for personal use carries no criminal charge, and public consumption is only a maximum fine of $100. Of course, since we’re talking about roughly sixty times that much, whoever dropped off the cooler would be wise to steer clear of that Goodwill for the time being.

Monroe police, who are totally refusing to be cool about this, are currently reviewing surveillance footage from the store to see if they can identify the person or persons who donated the cooler which, it should be noted, looks like a pretty nice one.

It seems like this hasto be either a person who got too high and grabbed the wrong cooler to donate, or a grandmother who was trying to help by cleaning out the garage… and was possibly also high.

Those are the most likely possibilities but let’s not overlook other less likely, but still totally possible, options:

  • Theymeant to donate this weed as they know how boring it is to work at Goodwill
  • This is the clever way the distributor gets his product to his dealer who works at Goodwill. Unfortunately, Todd forgot to mention he was taking the day off.
  • It’s an early April Fools prank and those bags are full of oregano, super glue, and red thread.
  • Wife said to donate the cooler full of heroin and her husband got confused.
  • Weed fairy.

If this your cooler, the Monroe police department would like to let you know that you are welcome to drop by the station at any time to claim it. Make sure to bring a photo ID and any other illegal substances you happen to havearound the house.