This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Weed may be illegal in India, but this isn’t stopping two major Indian cities from consuming a whole lot of it. In the 2018 index of the global consumption of weed, Delhi appeared in third place while Mumbai came in at sixth.
That’s right. Those from Delhi and Mumbai have been found to be huge pot fans, according to a study conducted by ABCD, a data-driven media campaign in Germany and Seedo, a company that offers hydroponic growing devices for consumers to grow their own medicinal herbs.
The index was topped by New York City, followed by Karachi, New Delhi, Los Angeles, Cairo, Mumbai, London, Chicago, Moscow, and Toronto.
The study found that pot-smokers in Delhi and Mumbai consumed 38.3 and 32.4 tons of weed, respectively.
The study also placed Amsterdam — where weed and “soft drugs” are legal for personal use — at 56th place, consuming 3.6 tons. This is just about a tenth of what Delhiites consumed.
Cheap prices may be a reason as to why cannabis consumption is so high in India. ABCD found that the average price in Delhi is USD$4.38 (Rs 315) per gram. In Mumbai, this number is $4.57 (Rs 329). The two cities feature the tenth and eleventh cheapest rates in the world, respectively, per gram.
ABCD pushes for the global legalisation of cannabis. To support their campaign, the 2018 index included the kind of tax revenue cities and countries could attain if they taxed weed the way they tax cigarettes. The results? Delhi could see an additional $101.2 million (approx Rs 725 crore) to its annual tax revenue. Similarly, Mumbai could raise $89.38 million (Rs 641 crores).
“By removing the criminal element from marijuana, governments will then [be] able to more safely regulate production, take away power from underground gangs, and as we’ve shown in this study, generate huge tax revenues,” said Uri Zeevi, CMO at Seedo.
In 1985, the sale and production of cannabis resin and flowers were banned under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Prior to the criminalisation, weed was sold freely. But even though criminalised now, weed continues to be sold, purchased and consumed throughout the country — with major efforts towards legalising it ongoing as well.
To conduct the study, Seedo looked at the highest and lowest cannabis-consuming countries in the world. They then sectioned this off to where marijuana is illegal or not. The final list of 120 cities was selected as the best ones to provide a holistic view of global weed consumption.