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Mumbai cops to crack down on bhaang makers, sellers, users

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This Holi, it might be a bit difficult to down a glass of flavoured bhaang. The favourite beverage of Holi revellers is expected to witness heavy crackdown by enforcement authorities. The local police, along with the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC), is planning to keep a check on parties and take immediate action if there is information about consumption, preparation or sale of bhaang or any other narcotics.

During Holi, bhaang ki goli (pills) are extensively sold across the city in paan shops, slum colonies, general stores and dairies. The substance is mixed with various types of drinks and food and consumed.

ANC DCP Namdeo Chavan said, “Bhaang is not categorised as an NDPS substance. However, its sale and consumption is illegal. The consumer or seller will be booked under prohibition act by the local police and ANC will keep a strict check on its sale on the day of Holi.”

He added that consumption of narcotic substances like meow meow could be on a high as well and, therefore, officers will be on their toes in vulnerable areas during the festival.

A bhaang pill costs anywhere between Rs50 and Rs200, based on the contents and place of sale. An officer from Malwani said, “Mostly, it is sold in dairies and paan shops. Although so far, we have not done any crackdown, based on information, we will raid a few places and stores on the day of Holi.”

He added that though the substance is illegal, it is used to cure several medical ailments. “Without the medical history documents and permits, its consumption is not allowed. It is mostly used to get high,” he said.

Bhaang transports the user in a dreamlike and hallucinogenic state for hours. The goli is a mixture of freshly ground cannabis, poppy seeds and dry fruits. It is mixed with thandai (a cold beverage made out of almonds and spices), lassi or even soft drinks, and had at homes and parties. It is also sold inside paan (betel nut leaf) and consumed. Sometimes, the pill is mixed in sweets and cakes too. While it is mostly sold as tablets, it is also available in powder form in some places.

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