Authorities in Indonesia often turn the destruction of drugs into grand, photo-friendly spectacles to demonstrate how effective their anti-narcotics efforts have been. Oftentimes, these events include the burning of copious amounts of marijuana. And, for some reason, these ganja burning sessions always seems to draw a crowd…
Such was the case yesterday in Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province. Though the region is best known for being the only province in Indonesia with special autonomy to explicitly enact and enforce sharia-based law, it is also known as being one of the largest marijuana producers in the country (ganja having been commonly used as a cooking ingredient in the region long before it was classified an illegal narcotic).
Over 500 kilograms of marijuana was tossed into a huge pile in the courtyard of Banda Aceh’s City Hall yesterday afternoon, all of which authorities said had been confiscated over the last three months.
Present for the burning were Banda Aceh Mayor Aminullah Usman as well as the Banda Aceh Police Chief Trisno Riyanto and other high-level officials.
“The weed we destroyed today, which weighed as much as 511 kilograms, was found in two locations,” Police Chief Trisno told reporters as quoted by Detik, adding that six people in total were arrested in relation to the confiscated ganja.
Mayor Aminullah said that anti-drug efforts in the region were being heightened at the village level to combat a reported increase in drug use.
There were no reports of anybody feeling “funny” after yesterday’s burning, as sometimes happens in these case. In one infamous incident from 2015 police in Tangerang, a satellite city of Jakarta, burned three tons of marijuana and allegedly made many people in the area feel “dizzy”.
But we wouldn’t be surprised if the Mie Aceh (Aceh’s delicious regional noodle dish) vendors near Banda Aceh City Hall did a lot of business yesterday afternoon… Fighting the scourge of drugs does work up a mighty appetite, after all.