Indian Hemp: How Criminals make N2 million monthly

Indian hemp is widely consumed or smoked in Nigeria, though it is classified as an illegal drug. It is common in Nigeria to see youths especially boys and young men smoking this stuff in street corners. In most towns and cities in Nigeria, you will easily see an Indian hemp seller.

The situation is bad now in Nigeria that you can see high school students smoking this drug freely. It is even seen as a status symbol among young boys.

Some unscrupulous businessmen have made fortune from this illegal business. A lot of criminals enter the business daily and they continue to smile to the bank. A friend once said, for every Indian hemp farm destroyed by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), ten Indian hemp farms spring up.

Over N2 billion worth of Indian hemp is consumed in Nigeria every day. Some Indian hemp retailers make over N2 million monthly.

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Key Stakeholders in the Indian Hemp Business

Indian hemp farmers

These are the most important stakeholders in the underground Indian hemp business. Without them, nobody can get Indian hemp to buy.

The steps taken by the Indian hemp farmers to make money from their illicit business will be discussed below:

Farm location

Most if not all of the Indian hemp farms in Nigeria are in a very hard to reach location. The farmers set up their farms inside thick forests so that it will be very difficult for any law enforcement agent to reach them.

The fertility of the soil is also very important for maximum Indian hemp yield. Most of these illicit drug farmers use virgin forest for cultivating Indian hemp.

Owo – Benin axis has the largest concentration of Indian hemp farms in Nigeria. This axis is in the rain forest belt of Nigeria. The area has very dense forest and fertile land so the farmers prefer to farm in this very rugged terrain. It is very common to see Indian hemp farms tucked up inside very dense and dark forest in this location.

This axis is also very near to the largest Indian hemp market in West Africa, which is Lagos. The huge population of Lagos makes it a very attractive market for Indian hemp sellers.

Another reason why Indian hemp farms are springing up in the Owo – Benin axis is due to the fact that there are a lot of Cocoa farms in this region. These Indian hemp farmers sometimes intercrop Indian hemp with Cocoa trees; the cocoa trees can provide a shade when the Indian hemp seedlings are in the nursery.

indian hemp


Seeds and seedlings are bought from fellow unscrupulous farmers. These Indian farmers visit fellow criminals to buy the seeds.

Buy farm inputs

The Indian hemp farmers need inputs like fertilizers, manure, cutlasses, hoes, pesticides and knapsack sprayer etc. For virgin forest, these unscrupulous farmers do not use any manure or fertiliser. However, after several cropping, they use manure or fertiliser to fertilise the soil and increase their Indian hemp yield.

Since some of the Indian hemp farmers are also cocoa farmers, they can disguise as genuine farmers to buy some farm inputs from government agricultural inputs store at a discount.

Indian hemp cultivated with organic inputs like manure are very potent than those cultivated with fertilizers and chemicals. People who smoke this stuff know how to differentiate organically grown Indian hemp and chemically grown ones.

Labour recruitment

Indian hemp farmers are very careful in recruiting workers for their Indian hemp farms. Since the business is an illegal one, they do everything possible to keep it very secretive. One of the main requirements for recruiting any worker for the farm is that you must be an active smoker of Indian hemp. The farmers know that those who smoke the drug are not likely to blow their cover.

For small farms of Indian hemp, the owner-farmer may decide to cultivate the crop all alone without needing any labourer or worker.

Farm management

Like other crops, the Indian hemp farmers maintain top of the class farm management regime in order to get good yields. Some of these farm management strategies include timely weeding, prompt application of pesticides and timely harvest.

These farmers invest a lot of money to cultivate their illicit crops so they do everything possible to get good yields. Good yield means good money to them.

Harvesting and drying

Once the Indian hemp plants are matured, they are harvested and properly dried in a hidden location. Poorly dried Indian hemp leaves may develop mildew and get bad. These Indian hemp farmers sun dry their illicit drugs on site.

Indian hemp transporters

Transporters are also major stakeholders in the illicit business of selling Indian hemp. The farmers carefully engage crooked people like them. You can never see an Indian hemp farmer going to a motor park to get a transporter to transport his stuffs for him.

These transporters mainly work at night; they use other farm products like vegetables to cover the Indian hemp so that the illicit drug will not be easily detected by preying eyes.

The transporters are skillful in avoiding security agents; they also bribe some compromised security officers in order to have an easy passage.

Cars, buses and trucks are often used to transport Indian hemp. Some trucks loaded with yam or other food items may have sacks of Indian hemp carefully stacked below the food items.

Sometimes, the big time Indian hemp distributors hire transporters themselves and take them to the farms to pick up the sacks of Indian hemp.

Indian hemp distributors

The distributors are the businessmen that distribute the illicit drugs to retailers. These distributors are gang leaders and they can be very dangerous. They are also very rich so they have the ability to avoid the preying eyes of security agents.

Some of the distributors have hidden outgrowers scheme for the cultivation of Indian hemp. The distributors finance the Indian hemp farmers; they buy them seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm inputs. The Indian hemp farmers pay the distributors back with their harvested Indian hemp.

The distributors are called mafia bosses. They have their network of farmers and they incentivize these farmers in order to continue to grow Indian hemp for them.

Indian hemp retailers

The retailers are the people you find on the street who sell this drug. They can be found in most street corners in Nigeria. Most of these retailers are rough looking and they are gang members. They can be very dangerous too.

I totally condemn this business and it should be noted that this note is just to expose the business side of this illicit endeavour.

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Ayo Akinfolarin