By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
In the war torn dictatorial nation of Democratic Republic of Congo, the indigenous Pygmies have taken to marijuana cultivation. The relatively small population of 600,000 forest dwelling natives that has been long pushed to the bottom of the economic ladder have had to survive on only a dollar a day. According to a new report by National Geographic, they have come to rely on marijuana as a fairly reliable income, but it comes with it’s perils.
The Congolese military and police have a love hate relationship. At times they can be brutal to the marijuana farmers, beating them and arresting them, and at other times they are the clients of the very same growers. National Geographic reports:
“But the medicine and extra francs come at a high cost. There’s a small wooden shack behind the perimeter of their huts. Mubawa says that villagers are often arrested by the Congolese army for selling marijuana and held in that hut. Soldiers patrol the village nearly every day—three or four wander the area during our two-hour conversation—but it’s never clear whether they are there as customers or law enforcers. Villagers say that if the soldiers have recently been paid, they will buy the marijuana. If they haven’t, then they confiscate it and demand the growers pay a fine.”
“If you have money, you pay, if not, they beat you until they get tired,” Mubawa says. “He has a gun; I have an arrow.”
Since Pymgmies and hunter-gatherers historically, the article looks at the arrival of marijuana to the area of Central Africa and when the Pygmies began their agrarian lifestyle. They discuss the illicit markets, how the Congolese military and police in trafficking, and more.
Check out the full article at www.news.nationalgeographic.com
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