Cannabis Palace: Once upon a time in Nepal

May 22, 2022

Nepal was known to be heaven for Marijuana lovers in the late 60s and early 70s as marijuana, hashish, etc. were legal in that period (before 1973 AD).

Freak Street, Kathmandu was the epicenter of the Hippie trail from the 1960s to the early 1970s. During that time the main attraction drawing tourists to Freak Street was the government-run hashish shops. 

Portrait of a “Hippie” surrounded by Marijuana plants in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1971 AD. Photo Courtesy:

Hippies from different parts of the world traveled to Freak Street aka Basantapur in search of high-quality legal cannabis found nowhere in the world.

Direct bus services to Freak Street were also available from the airport and borders targeting the hippies looking for legal smokes. Freak Street was a hippie nirvana since marijuana and hashish were legal and sold openly in government-licensed shops.

A young restless population in the west, seeking to distance itself from political and social frustration, had firsthand contact with the culture, art and architecture, and lifestyle that attracted them to Freak Street, Kathmandu.

Top Deck travel bus parked in Basantapur, Kathmandu in the early 70s.

In 1973, Nepal canceled the licenses of all cannabis shops, dealers, and farmers, “UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)”.

Note: As of April 2022, Marijuana has been legalized in 35 states of America for medical use, 18 of which allow adults to legally use the substance for recreational use. Sales of adult-use and medical marijuana products hit $25 billion in 2021 and, by one Wall Street estimate, it could reach $100 billion by 2030.


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