National Geographic Shows How Marijuana Is Problematic Even In The Congo

Pygmy families that have harvested the plant for hundreds of years now face arrest for selling it to survive.

Think of someone who sells marijuana for a living: the typical image that comes to mind is likely something along the lines of a drug-rug-wearing Southern California-raised stoner-surfer. Or today––an old white guy in a boardroom and a blazer, who has more than likely never been blazed in his entire life. Most people probably wouldn't imagine the weed retailing outfit like this:

Pygmy families have grown and harvested cannabis plants for generations, but now risk being arrested as shrinking lands have communities in the Congolese forests turning from cultivation to distribution. 

Though according to a National Geographic photo essay, published last month, the latter scenario is the reality for many Pygmy families in the region:

"There’s little work outside the forest for the indigenous Pygmy communities. Young men sell five-foot-long bundles of firewood gathered from the park or work as day laborers in the fields. Many have turned to marijuana. . . Depending on how much a family grows, the plants bring $8 to $100 per week. What they don’t sell is dried for medicinal purposes. When someone falls ill, a traditional healer is dispatched with marijuana. Ground seeds mixed with water cures stomachaches. Kneaded into a starchy tuber called cassava, they improve appetites. A tea of boiled leaves treats coughs, parasites, fainting, flu, and fever." 

For the full story, and more images from Nat Geo, go here