Hash dealers of Himachal Pradesh have discovered a unique way to find their potential customers.They use Instagram to hunt down users and sell their 'good'. The dealers find travelers through geo-tagged photos and hashtags on Instagram and turn them into potential buyers.
Not only do they track potential customers who tag their location in Kasol, Manali and other towns of the region, but they even keep an eye on ‘hashtags’, whereby app users put the symbol ‘#’ before key words to tag and group photos of similar nature across Instagram. For instance, #kasoldiaries will group all posts with this tag to make it easier for people to follow common interests, reports Hindustan Times.
The dealers are upfront and quick. After finding you having used such a hashtag, they will first ‘follow’ you on Instagram. This correspondent recently uploaded photographs of a trip to the region on Instagram. Within minutes, two Instagram accounts — boom5036 and boom_bawa — pressed ‘like’ on the photos of hills and rivers. Their public uploads on the app have scores of photos of charas rolled and packed in different shapes. Other photos had an entry gate of Malana, considered to have the best quality of cannabis in the world.
One kilo of the hash costs approximately Rs 200,000 ($3,056).
Sellers are constantly eyeing photos pinned to Kasol, Malana, Manali — locations popular for their hand-processed cannabis.
Sometimes dealers create accounts, post photos of neatly packed boxes, and leave their phone numbers in the caption. Interested buyers 'follow' the dealers after which interactions begin on Direct Message — Instagram's private communication feature. Eventually, a deal is sealed.
At times, WhatsApp is also used for correspondence and bank account details are exchanged.