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Latest update : 2012-01-23

The Himalayas: cannabis valley

Hidden in the Himalayas, Parvati valley produces some of the purest hashish in the world. But it is now being targeted by the authorities. In this land where cannabis is king, two France 24 journalists accompanied the police on their raids against the drug traffickers and growers in the Manali region of northern India. This is their exclusive report.

It is the world’s most widely produced and consumed illegal substance. In its various forms, cannabis is used by more than 200 million people in almost every country on the planet. For decades, authorities in cultivator countries such as Morocco, Mexico and India have struggled to keep its production and export in check. They’ve often been thwarted by the inaccessibility of production centres - as is the case in the Indian Himalayas, where high-altitude hillsides have long been used by traffickers to produce some of the world’s most potent, and purest, cannabis resin or hashish.

For the first time, however, Indian police have decided to launch an ambitious operation that will take them right to the doorsteps of the traffickers, to targets once considered too far and too risky. Two France 24 journalists accompanied them on the journey, and stayed on to see how the illicit drug trade has transformed a once isolated Himalayan valley.

By Vikram Singh , Constantin SIMON

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