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Smoking marijuana, or weed, helps users feel relaxed and maintains their “sanity” in this crazy world, says Budi, not his real name.
“I have regularly smoked weed since senior high school. At first, it was just another teen issue, keeping up with peers but now I must admit I enjoy smoking it,” Budi told The Jakarta Post recently.
Budi, a father of a daughter and whose wife works in the medical industry, admits that he usually smokes marijuana with close friends at home or other safe locations.
“I don’t smoke weed on the street now, not since I had a family,” he said, adding that his wife had been aware of his habit when they were dating.
“My wife says she’s okay with [the habit] but it has to be done responsibly, meaning I need to place personal limits,” he said.
He said that he usually got supplies from a neighbor in his South Jakarta residential complex, who sold him 100 grams of marijuana for Rp 800,000 (US$84). His friend “knows the dealer personally”, Budi said. The stock lasted two months for himself and a few friends, he said.
“Usually I spend three days a week gathering with friends and chatting over marijuana.”
According to the National Narcotics Agency’s (BNN) latest survey, Jakarta is among the top three provinces with the highest marijuana distribution, with over 65 million grams sold across the capital last year. Agency spokesman Sr. Comr. Sumirat Dwiyanto said Jakarta hosted an estimated 258,000 drug and narcotics users among its 10.1 million inhabitants.
He said the flood of illegal narcotics and drug products into many cities was due to massive marketing by drug dealers, a lucrative business even for beginners. The 2009 narcotics law, which stipulates a maximum penalty of death for producing narcotics and 15 years jail for distributing the substances — including crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy, both grouped as amphetamine-type stimulants — hardly acts as a deterrent.
“Just imagine, in the middle of economic hardship, someone offers you a business with zero capital. All you need is a bit of guts and then you can earn big rewards,” Sumirat said.
In written testimony to BNN by a drug dealer, identified as Jacky from Kampung Beting in West Kalimantan’s thriving capital of Pontianak, it was revealed that the drug business was protected by most residents, including Jacky’s parents.
Jacky’s trade in crystal meth resulted in a daily revenue of Rp 18 to 20 million — benefiting the whole kampung, who also provide safety for drug customers visiting the area on the banks of the Kapuas river. Two truckloads of police were needed for raids in Beting, his testimony said.
The BNN’s latest survey recorded that in West Kalimantan, almost 645,000 grams of crystal methamphetamine, or shabu, found its way to consumers last year. Kampung Beting is known for its infamous drug business which stretched down through generations.
Another crystal meth dealer’s testimony in Aceh revealed that shabu was widely distributed in every village in the province, which is dubbed the veranda of Mecca, and which is the only province that officially upholds Islamic law.
The dealer said each village had at least three drug dealers. Marijuana, meanwhile, is a traditional, much cheaper, crop.
Henry Yosodiningrat from the Anti Narcotics Movement (Granat) said no single sub-district throughout the country was free from drugs and narcotics. The drug rings would likely hire private armies as in Latin America, he said, if the country failed to reverse the trend of rising drug users.
“They are very large and aggressive in distributing the drugs, with the full back up of huge funds and connections,” he said.