Bhang is an extract from the leaves and flowers of cannabis, which is prepared into a powder and can be used in drinks and other preparations, and makes you high. In some parts of India, bhang is legal to use for spiritual purposes, and is sold in shops that hold a government authorization, like in Jaisalmer.
The Government Authorized Bhang Shop in Jaisalmer is mentioned in the Lonely Planet. It was one of the first shops I saw when I walked into Jaisalmer. I went in. They showed me a small menu with bhang products. After a short conversation about their menu I left without buying anything. As I walked more into town I saw another bhang shop on the square without an authorization sign.
The next day, when I was having dinner at an Italian restaurant in Jaisalmer, one of the employers started telling about the authorized bhang shop conflict in Jaisalmer:
The government authorized bhang shop used to belong to the same owner as the Italian restaurant. The shop had been there for over twenty years, and had even made it to television when Antony Bourdain visited Jaisalmer. It is mentioned in the lonely planet and got quite some publicity.
A couple of years ago a politically stronger man opened a bhang shop in Jaisalmer too, and stole his authorization sign, name, and reputation. The new authorized shop is easy to find and using the good reputation of the old shop. The old shop still exists but is not regognized as the right shop. And the new shop is runned by unfriendly people that poison tourists. Only to save on the ingredients and to make more money. I did not know what to think.
A war of tribes, an ongoing rancor?
Out of curiosity, later I went back to the first shop, and asked for their menu again. The employer said they did not have one. When I told him that I had just seen their menu a day ago, he did not have a clear answer and tried to pretend he did not understand. He was pushy, and not friendly at all, and I told him that I would not do any business with him and left. I knew my answer.
Here is Anthony Bourdain visiting the right bhang shop in Jaisalmer: