The DVD guy is an essential part of modern living. Netflix and chill are eating into DVDs market but for many Kenyans series, movies are not yet streamed but rather got at fifty bob a DVD.
Books are more my fix but man shall not live on writings alone, right? So I do have a DVD guy who sorts my ‘mindless o’clock’ needs. Latest visit to DVD shop inspired this snippet.
Late on the Elementary series bus but now that I on it I am hooked. As I waited for an episode to be ‘burned’ I watched the DVD guy side hustle as a ganja seller.
Sale one. Six girls. All of at most 21 probably younger. 3 roughly 5 months pregnant. 2 in tank tops and hot pants. Interesting bevy. Even more interesting was their brazen purchase.
“Let us see the stuff. It’s too slim. Let’s call Benja, his stuff is fatter. No let’s get these then we see. Ok, is it local or international? We want five. You have 3 only? What peddler doesn’t have stock?” One could never have guessed ganja is illegal in Kenya. The girls could easily have been buying tomatoes from Mama Mboga.
Sale two. Group of boys. High school. Probably form two at most. 16 years. They stood outside. Need looking kid did the buying. More discrete.
“You have? Cool.” Then money was passed and then stuff was passed across. One would not guess they have just bought weed.
Curious me window shopped. Apparently local is Kenyan weed or according to parlance Kush ( for Kushingpeng) and it costs 30 bob a joint. International is Ethiopian or according to parlance Shash (for shashamane) and it costs 50 a joint. The prices are adjusted upwards based on a buyer’s looks or street smarts.
A decade and a half ago bhang was the drug of choice for social misfits.
Stereotype of a weed smoker was an unkempt man with untidy dreads who probably listened to reggae. Peddlers were in the off-the-way places – car wash guys, rubbish heap with parking boys selling etc. A whiff of bhang was as rare as the sighting of a five shilling note.
Something happened – I do not know what – and weed became cool.
A joint suddenly was just the thing to spice up a house party and shortly thereafter cookies, brownies, muffins were cooked with weed. This pulled the ladies in and kufumba na kufumbua smoking weed in Kenya has became as normal as smoking a cigarette. And the age of weed smokers is decreasing rapidly. 14 year olds just done with KCPE are puffing away.
But Kenyan law has not moved an inch and in the eyes of the law bhang is a ‘hard’ drug with serious ramifications.
In Kenya Bhang is denoted as a narcotic drug under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No.4 of 1994. An example of the dim view the law takes on bhang, Section 2a gives the sentence for possession for own use as 10 years.
A decade in jail is what the buyers I observed were dabbling in. As for the enterprising DVD seller with a ‘cool’ side hustle he was dabbling with a trafficking charge which is SERIOUS crime.
The norm in Kenya is to bury our heads in the sand and also play the moral card in regard to any vice. The ‘hypercritical conservative-ness’ helps no one and at some point after a lengthy duration ‘we’ are ‘sufficiently shocked’ at the extent of the reach whatever it is that was being ignored as it went on.
Many governments in countries abroad are having to redo their laws in as for as bhang is concerned motivated by reports of medicinal value of weed as well as the allure of huge taxes to be got.
NACADA, KFCB, etc all screaming morality notwithstanding, I reckon Kenya has to have the ‘legalize or not’ conversation about bhang sooner rather than later.
GOD BLESS KENYA!