|Tuhin Subhra Day/Fotopedia|
|Towards infinity: A Nepali sadhu smokes hashish from his chillum as part of the religious festival Shivaratri.|
Police in Nepal say they have cracked down on public marijuana use at a major Hindu religious festival where the herb is smoked legally by thousands of holy men to honor the Hindu god Shiva.
The wandering mystics, known as sadhus, use an ancient legal loophole to smoke cannabis during a night of celebrations in honor of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, reports Agence France Presse
. But unfortunately, ordinary, every-day Nepalis aren’t allowed to join them.
“We have arrested 70 people including dozens of youths who took excessive marijuana,” said Nepal police spokesman Dhiraj Pratap Shah, who apparently thinks he gets to decide what’s “excessive.”
“We have not arrested any sadhus,” Pratap claimed.
Thousands of devotees travel to the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu every year from all over Nepal and India to celebrate the Shivaratri festival.
|“Dude. I am soooo high.” (Or the local equivalent.)|
The government used to provide the marijuana for the festival at one time.
But, alas, like a snake in the garden, “progress” occurred: Uptight authority-types decided just last year to start enforcing a ban on sadhus selling cannabis because of complaints they were dealing to local people.
“The Pashupati Area Development Trust has allowed the sadhus to use the drugs only for themselves,” Pratap snippily said to the AFP.
According to Pratap, 4,500 officers—1,800 of them armed —and 200 undercover, plainclothes detectives were deployed “to maintain law and order” inside the religious temple.
Sadhus—who renounce all worldly possession in favor of spiritual pursuits, and usually live in caves or temples—have been coming to K-K-K-Kathmandu for hundreds of years to celebrate the cannabis-friendly festival.
They mark it by smoking marijuana, because Hindu mythology suggests Shiva himself enjoyed a toke as much as the next god.
Shivaratri is a public holiday in India and Nepal, where all government offices and schools are shut for the day so that everyone can get properly baked.
Huge camps are set up for the visiting sadhus, many of whom arrive weeks ahead of the celebrations to get a good “head” start.