Kidapawan drug users shift from shabu to marijuana, says mayor

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 29 Jan) – From shabu to marijuana. That seems to be the change in drug use in this city, according to Mayor Joseph Evangelista.

Marijuana is cheaper as compared to methamphetamine hydrochloride or what is locally known as “shabu,” data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 12 showed.

A gram of dried marijuana leaves is reportedly being sold at P120 while a gram of shabu is valued at P6,800.

Evangelista based his latest pronouncement on the results of the anti-drug operations the PDEA-12 operatives launched last Monday against a group of drug couriers whose main product is marijuana.

The anti-drug agents confiscated from the suspects—two of them minors—at least 200 grams of dried marijuana leaves placed in 42 small sachets and valued at P24,000.

The PDEA-12 said the supplies came from Carmen town in North Cotabato.

But the mayor said some users have marijuana plants inside their houses and thus no longer have the difficulty in getting their supply somewhere.

“We’re validating the reports that some households here have at least three to four pots or vases planted to marijuana. [If that’s the case], that’s where the problem comes in. It is so difficult to apply for search warrants against them because there is no selling and no distribution,” said the mayor.

He said that for more than a year of conducting surveillance and monitoring against those involved in drug trafficking, the pattern and the choice of illegal drugs have changed.

“Most of the anti-drug operations launched here since last year, our operatives have confiscated several grams of dried marijuana leaves, although the primary choice is still shabu,” Evangelista noted.

This pattern, he explained, is not only happening in the city but also in some parts of the country.

According to PDEA-12, the latest two buy-bust raids in the city had confirmed that there is such a bigger drug network operating in Kidapawan City.

The mayor, however, refuted such claim and said that the network is not only concentrated in the city but also in other areas.

The PDEA-12 has also refused to identify those behind this network and their big clients in the city.

“What we’re doing right now is not only focused on arrests or apprehensions of suspects but also on how we could help the minors or the youth who are lured in this illegal business by their own parents and relatives,” he said. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)