Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 Source: Arusha Times, The (Tanzania) Copyright: 2005 Arusha Times. Contact: http://www.arushatimes.co.tz/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2943 Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Cannabis) 'HAKUNA KULALA' AS MARIJUANA HARVEST SEASON BEGINS Arusha - As a UN Report lists Tanzania as the second largest marijuana producer in Africa after South Africa there is fear that the drug is becoming the mainstay of the economy of some remote villages north-west of Arusha . This month and August is the main harvest season of marijuana in some of the villages north of Oldonyo Sambu, off Arusha-Namanga Road and business of the illegal drug is booming. An investigation by this newspaper indicates that the villages are now a beehive of activities as farmers are engaged in brisk transactions with dealers who smuggle the drug out of the villages. The password for buyers is "Hakuna kulala (No sleeping) ". An eyewitness told the Arusha Times that up to 10 bales of Marijuana commonly known as bhang are daily brought down from Mount Meru by foot or loaded on donkeys using a route straddling a canyon and is deposited at a secret location near Oldonyo Sambu village. Women are increasingly being involved in transporting bales of Marijuana while men scout the routes to make sure that they do not meet law enforcing officers. From the many depots along Nairobi Road, marijuana consignments are transported by vehicles to the Namanga boarder post, Arusha city and the Mererani mining village in Simanjiro district. The largest consignment is destined to Nairobi where major buyers are located. Nairobi serves as the distribution point for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan. A peddler who has just served a three-year jail term in Kenya, said the route between Ngaramtoni and Namanga did not bother him much compared to the Kenyan side which he said has many check points. That was where he was nabbed and sent to prison. Another peddler claimed that the business is lucrative and therefore worth the risk. He was quick to point out individuals who have made it by farming or trafficking the drug. Many are awash with cash, he claimed. They take advantage of the fact that they operate in a vast territory that is inaccessible by vehicles, thus there is little chance of being busted by Police who are often ill equipped. In the remote areas marijuana is intercropped with food crops such as maize and peas. Other famous areas for cultivation of Marijuana are the Usambara mountains and the southern highlands, but according to those familiar with the illegal product Arusha's variety is favored and highly priced because of its potency. "It flowers quickly in one's head." A UN Report quoted by the East African shows that Tanzania ranked fourth in the world as a producer of dried-and-ready-for consumption Marijuana. About 330 Tanzanians are serving sentences in various jails world wide for drug trafficking.