This article originally appeared on VICE India.
‘Hey, you around?' is VICE's column asking drug dealers not just what they're selling, but how they're doing it.
Bruno, 21, shuttled between Mumbai and Goa while growing up, and now lives in Mumbai. He sells hydroponic weed, hybrid cannabis and hash all over India and, surprisingly, Bali. Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the production and sale of cannabis flowers and resin is banned and criminalised in India.
VICE: Hey, you around?
Bruno: What’s up?
What do you sell and where?
I sell hydro, hybrids and hash all over India. Cannabis not grown in India is the most in demand because of its quality.
How long have you been dealing drugs and how did you get into it?
It’s been almost five years since I’ve been dealing. At first, I used to buy all this stuff for myself. Then my friends started asking me for stuff. I had great contacts with everyone I used to get the stuff from, so I would help my friends out. Then, the number of people reaching out to me started increasing. Everyone would tell me, “We fear scoring it from anyone else because of cop issue or because the stuff would be a total bummer.” So I started getting for more people, and they’re all really happy with what I can procure.
How do you source your stuff?
I get it from the dark web systems and some of my contacts in the Netherlands and Canada. Three years ago, one of my friends got me into coding and accessing the dark web. Everything is available here, anytime and anywhere, although there are many people accessing at the same time and servers end up crashing very often. But to be honest, for India, the dark web isn’t the best place to source stuff. When you order 10 ounces, chances are only five will come the other five will be seized by the Indian Customs. This is the only reason why the best OG and homegrown Sativa-based 40 percent THC-level cannabis is very expensive. I also grow some of my own stuff in the mountains of Maharashtra.
Why do you continue sourcing from the dark web despite these hurdles?
Because the dark web is one of the biggest sources the world has. Farm growers and owners sometimes refuse to parcel as it's illegal here. This can be only done by the people who know their way around the dark web and have great experience in it.
How do customers contact you?
Through WhatsApp or by calling me if they know me, or through Wickr. But it’s mainly through Instagram DMs.
Has Instagram helped you grow your business?
Significantly. But you can't put your stuff out there as posts because Instagram will block the account immediately if you do that. You can just post Stories and keep them as Highlights for people who visit your profile, so that they can know what I'm actually doing. I also get bulk orders, especially when people organise parties or a dark forest events, which are raves that happen especially in Goa, Kodaikanal, Kasol, Kheerganga and Tosh.
How do you expand your customer base on Instagram?
I manipulate people. I might follow them but wait for them to see my Stories to know that I sell. I just look for people who might be smokers and can get in touch with me. Often, it’s friends of friends and other smokers who first follow me and then I talk to them.
How come you supply to Bali as well?
Dark web systems offer discreet deliveries in Bali too. I get in touch with people living there, and send them deliveries like I do to people in India.
Are you worried about the risks involved?
I'm always worried. But I know how to get out of this real quick. Money makes everything work. Everyone is a money-seeker. Do you think the Indian government doesn’t know about all this? Everyone knows, but in India, illegal things can be sold faster than legal things.
Ever had trouble with the cops or a dodgy customer?
Thankfully, I have never been busted. But once, I met a noob. I got him a bud to smoke with me, but then he went away and tipped a cop about me for real low shit money. The cop came to me but I could settle the matter with him for Rs 1,200 ($17). I do deliveries by couriers and also in person, but some people, and especially noobs, can be weird to deal with. They can get scared easily and even make me feel confused.
Does selling pay the bills or is it just a side-hustle?
I am actually a music events organiser. This is just a side-hustle for me to spread peace to everyone.
What do your friends and family think about all of this?
My family, obviously, has no idea. And my friends are my clients.
Thanks, Bruno. Any closing words?
Everyone should find peace instead of making war. People these days are jealous of everyone else who's doing better. They need to chill. They need to support what's really interesting and brilliant to make the country get ahead. Legalisation is a must.
Follow Dhvani Solani on Instagram.
*The interview was conducted over encrypted message and name has been changed.