Andrea de Franciscis: Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields

Andrea de Franciscis: Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields
International Photography Grant 2019

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills at an altitude of 10,000 ft. (3,000 m), entire villages and communities subsist on illegal marijuana production. These villages are far from any paved roads and are so remote that distances are measured in hours of walking. Across thousands of acres of public and private land, villagers grow cannabis which is then turned into a high-quality resin know as charas.

Cannabis has deep roots in Indian society dating back to as early as 2,000 BCE within the Hindu scriptures. However, since the drug was outlawed in India in 1985 there has been pressure on a national and global scale to curb the cannabis production in the Himalayan valley.

Andrea de Franciscis was born in 1981 in Naples and is currently based between Italy and India. After obataining his degree in medicine, he started to work as freelance photojournalist on social contemporary issues, focusing his interest on children and women rights, religion and enviornment.

Website: www.andreadefranciscis.com

Elder men in the traditional wool suit sit in the village square near the temple. They are the first generation of people who started to cultivate the infesting strain that was growing wild in the Himalayas

Andrea de Franciscis: Elder men in the traditional wool suit sit in the village square near the temple. They are the first generation of people who started to cultivate the infesting strain that was growing wild in the Himalayas

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

Children play in the schoolyard. Only primary education is granted within the village, but there is neither doctor nor market, only a small shop providing basic grocery needs. Distances are calculated in hours of walk

Andrea de Franciscis: Children play in the schoolyard. Only primary education is granted within the village, but there is neither doctor nor market, only a small shop providing basic grocery needs. Distances are calculated in hours of walk

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Andrea de Franciscis

A shepherd walks his 200 and more cattle herd downhill as winter is approaching. It will take him up to three weeks to reach the valley, where he will wait for the spring. Wool is a profitable yet hard business, yet the only alternative to cannabis

Andrea de Franciscis: A shepherd walks his 200 and more cattle herd downhill as winter is approaching. It will take him up to three weeks to reach the valley, where he will wait for the spring. Wool is a profitable yet hard business, yet the only alternative to cannabis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

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Andrea de Franciscis

A local marriage, Shaadi, in the square of the village: women wear the festivity patthu and all village gather to dance, eat and celebrate. Village parties and festival are occasions for people from different villages to meet

Andrea de Franciscis: A local marriage, Shaadi, in the square of the village: women wear the festivity patthu and all village gather to dance, eat and celebrate. Village parties and festival are occasions for people from different villages to meet

Villagers gather around a big fire set in front of the temple in occasion of the mela. Villagers are mainly Hindu, although they hail as well minor deities worshipped in the mountains, locally known as devta

Andrea de Franciscis: Villagers gather around a big fire set in front of the temple in occasion of the mela. Villagers are mainly Hindu, although they hail as well minor deities worshipped in the mountains, locally known as devta

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International Photography Grant 2019