We have all heard of the dog who ate the homework, but rats who ate the weed? That’s a new one, but it is apparently the account that has been offered up by law enforcement officials in India, who are blaming the pesky rodents for getting their fangs on some seized marijuana.
CNN has the weird (and disgusting) details, reporting on court documents that spell out the damage that rats have imposed on confiscated contraband in northern India.
The network quotes a court in the city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, which noted that “local police were unable to furnish almost 200 kilograms of confiscated cannabis that was supposed to be used as evidence in a recent case.”
“Rats are small animals, and they aren’t scared of the police,” the court said, as quoted by CNN.
“Court documents said the police had been asked to provide 386 kilograms of cannabis, but the prosecution flagged to the court that more than 700 kilograms of marijuana stored in various stations across Mathura could be impacted by the rat infestation,” CNN reported. “And this was – allegedly – not the first time the rats had struck. The judge hearing the case cited Mathura police as blaming the rodents for destroying a total of more than 500 kilograms [a little more than 1,100 pounds] of cannabis that had been seized in various cases and stored at the city’s Shergarh and Highway Police Station.”
It should be noted that not everyone accepts that version of events. Mathura City Police Superintendent Martand Prakash Singh told CNN that the weed had in fact been “destroyed by rains and flooding,” not rats.
“There was no reference to rats in the (report submitted to the court) … the police only mentioned that the seized cannabis was destroyed in the rains and flooding,” Singh said.
India’s laws on cannabis use and cultivation are spelled out in the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985. According to the website The Print, the law “prohibits the sale and use of cannabis resin and flowers, [but] it permits the use of its seeds, stems, and leaves.”
In 2019, with concerns surrounding vaping mounting around the world, India issued a ban on all electronic cigarettes.
“Unfortunately, e-cigarettes got promoted initially as a way in which people can get out of the habit of smoking cigarettes. It was to be a weaning process from using cigarettes,” Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the time, as quoted by CNN. “The Cabinet rightly thought it is time and we immediately took a decision so that the health of our citizens, of our young, is not thrown to a risk.”
According to CNN, “Sitharaman added that the ban would cover e-cigarette production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement,” and that it included “all forms of ENDS, heat-not-burn products and e-hookah devices.”
“People who violate the ban once could face up to one year in prison or a fine of 100,000 rupees ($1,400) or both. For subsequent offenses, the penalty would be five years imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 rupees ($7,000). Storing e-cigarettes would also be punishable with up to six months in prison and a 50,000-rupee ($700) fine,” CNN reported at the time.
The Indian government said at the time that those “novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavors and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children.”