Facebook Loves India. Indian Tobacco Company should love Cannabis

Gloria Indica

Hi! Welcome to the 8th edition of Gloria Indica, our newsletter written specifically for Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome. Wherever you’re from, whenever you’ll read this, this is our newsletter when we train our eyes a bit more specifically to the cannabis, business and technology narratives going on around the world of ours today. Narratives that’ll have an impact on all of us, if not immediately, then definitely in a few years. 

The Times of India Calls Cannabis Criminalization……Wrong

Thank you Times of India. Here’s what is said.

“It is 35 years since cannabis was criminalised in India under the aegis of a US-driven war against drug crime. For several centuries, before the Indian government acted under the influence of Western agenda setting, Indians have been consuming cannabis products, mentioned even in early texts, for medical and recreational use. A 2019 Union social justice ministry report says a phenomenal 1.3 crore people use cannabis in its illegal forms (ganja and charas) – apart from 2.2 crore users for bhang, which is legal”

Large hauls of cannabis seized post-lockdown is proof that bans and over legislation don’t work, especially when there is public demand. In 2018, a  whopping four lakh kgs of ganja was seized. Such massive production is surely not a sign of deterrence. Besides, over 60% narcotics cases involve personal use rather than trafficking or production. Instead of choking overburdened police and courts with thousands of cannabis cases, there is a strong case for cash strapped governments regulating cannabis production, sale and use”

4,00,000 kilograms of cannabis.

All of this haul should have been converted into medicines, edible oil and protein powder. But, what has happened is that generations of brainwashing has resulted in misinformation, propaganda and a wastage of colossal proportions. Our cops (already one of the world’s most understaffed) have wasted their time chasing cannabis users and dealers when they have more serious crimes to deal with, like the harder synthetic drugs for instance. Sufficient to say, economics 101 can help the government regulate cannabis like any other commodity, although we beg to differ, since big pharmaceutical companies likely feel scared that medical cannabis would take the place of their not-so-effective medicines for millions of Indian patients suffering from severe health issues. 

Recently, in another story we were reading about the Indian Tobacco Company trying its best to diversify beyond cigarettes. ITC, in 2019-2020 made almost 25,000 crores from selling its cigarette brands, forming nearly 44% of its total revenue and a huge 73% of its total profits. 

73% of ITC’s total profits came from cigarettes. Classic Milds. Lights. Gold flake. Kings. 

ITC is a monopoly. It contributes a lot of revenue to the government. According to us, ITC should lobby the Indian government hard and use cannabis extracts in its cigarettes, and slowly over a period of time, build out a cannabis smoking brand of its own. Not only would it be more safer than their cigarettes which frankly do a lot of damage to millions of people, but it would also embrace the age-old Indian culture of using cannabis. Come on ITC!

Let’s keep blazing. 

The Era of Walled Gardens

Which walled garden do you belong to from the below? 

  1. Facebook-Instagram-WhatsApp-Messenger Garden
  2. Google-Gmail-Drive-Docs-Sheets-Chrome-YouTube Garden
  3. Microsoft-Azure-Office-Teams Garden
  4. Amazon-Prime-Alexa-Echo-Kindle Garden
  5. Apple-iTunes-iPhone-iPad Garden
  6. Netflix-Disney-All other streaming platforms garden
  7. All the others including your favourite standalone apps for food delivery and mobility

It is difficult to not tread in any of the above gardens. So pervasive have these services become in our lives, that we absolutely need to use them for our needs, wants and desires. And make no mistake, these gardens have made our lives easier than ever. And we haven’t even gotten started on the incredible number of businesses out there building their own brands to reach their audiences, and who have to depend on the services of these giant companies to stay in business. 

That being said, let’s not sink into a cesspool of negativity and understand how you, readers can make the right choices in terms of accessing the right information at all times. After all it’s the same reason why our newsletters are written in the first place – to give you, the reader the bigger picture of the wider world, about all the individuals, companies and institutions trying to –

  1. Get you to spend your hard-earned earnings
  2. Get you to believe in certain things (as if you’re dumb)
  3. Influence your thoughts (as if you’re dumb, again)
  4. Create personalized news feeds to suck you into your existing likes and dislikes without showing you things that could expand your mental horizons
  5. Optimize algorithms to keep your attention fragmented rather than optimize for new knowledge among many other things. 

The onus as always is on the user. But, what is the right information for you, anyway? At the end of the day, all everyone wants is to have financial freedom and hence a better standard of living. More, more and more of everything pleasurable and less of mental or physical pain. But that’s the thing, without meaning to be preachy here, life in itself is all about pain. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Congratulations Facebook

Here’s two links below for stories about Facebook’s role in Indian politics over the past 6 years which have blown across Indian media recently in the last few weeks. We were not surprised at all.  

  • The Indian Express: Facebook took down 14 pages that were opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party, it also reinstated 17 pages on the request of the BJP
  • The Wall Street Journal: Facebook’s top policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, told employees that punishing hate speech by BJP leaders in India would damage the company’s “business prospects” in India

The Bharatiya Janata Party was the first Indian political party to understand the range of the internet and especially social media to market themselves. Who can forget all those WhatsApp forwards highlighting how Sonia Gandhi had stashed away 5700000000000000000000000000000 in a Swiss Bank account? Who can forget all the ‘Rahul Gandhi is Pappu’ forwards, not to forget all the jokes heaped on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being so quiet? Who can forget all the images of the current Prime minister masquerading as India’s saviour from black money and corruption? 

We have to say that we ourselves failed to think enough, we failed to question enough, we failed to understand the deeper reasons at play, we failed to understand the motives and incentives of people and institutions. 

Needles to say, now we do. That’s why our newsletters.

Let’s keep blazing. Have a great day 🙂 

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