Hemp in India, Nature Plants

What a great combination – Hemp and India! Earth’s most sustainable natural resource and one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The miracle crop that hemp is, hemp is being cultivated by many countries. Farming is the backbone of India’s economy. Indian hemp will contribute to the economy and even the environment of the country. Indian farmers have not exploited this wonder plant to its full potential yet.

There has been a long tradition of using cannabis in India. Vedas referred to it as one of five sacred plants dating back as far as 3400 years ago!

Hemp has a wide array of uses in many fields, including medicine, steel, and as an alternative to harmful plastics. There are currently only two legal places to grow its crop in India. A third is expected to follow suit later this year. There are a few immediate questions that must be addressed when we talk about hemp in India.

Why was hemp banned in India? How long ago was that? How far has the ban progressed? How do hemp products fare in this country in the future?

Hopefully, this article will provide some answers.               

The Ban on Hemp in India: When and Why

India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act strictly forbids the production and sale of cannabis flowers and resin. The mid-1980s was the time when this ban was enacted. Before that time, hemp was widely cultivated and harvested.

The problem is that hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family. This herb, but unlike its infamous cousin, does not cause harm. Marijuana comes from a Sativa plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is used to get euphoria. Conversely, hemp produces little psychoactive effect because it contains less than 0.3% THC.

It appears that big industrialists pressured the USA into banning hemp in the 1930s, which was a major user of hemp products.

Hemp has been associated with misconceptions about its possible effects. The number of people using drugs in India is the second-highest (after the United States) – so it is no wonder that hemp cultivation has been banned.

Hemp and India: Legal Status at Present

A license for hemp cultivation has been granted by the Uttarakhand state government, the first in the country. As long as the THC content is less than 0.3%, hemp can be legally grown. Hemp cultivation has also been legalized in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh may be added as a third state soon.

Hemp research is nevertheless not prohibited in India, for which one can easily obtain a license anywhere.

What if one has no intention of complying with the ban? The crops could be destroyed/burned as a result.

The Indian Hemp Association and certain entrepreneurs are showing encouraging signs, although there is more work to be done.

The government needs to know about problems on the ground!

Police officers, tax inspectors, and the like are being incompetent at representing the government at the ground level. The farmers who cultivate hemp following the permissible limit of THC are often harassed as well.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should not exceed 0.3% in hemp grown in Uttarakhand, according to local authorities. Lack of adequate labs allows authorities and farmers to defend claims and counterclaims as a result of the lack of infrastructure. It has occurred when the farmers’ standing crops have been burned for no other reason than suspicion.

Some basic training is needed for those implementing the law. In contrast to cannabis used for recreational use, industrial hemp has much less THC, the component that causes intoxication. The THC content of industrial hemp must be less than 0.3% dry weight or less. THC can be as high as 3% in medical cannabis. It is estimated that recreational marijuana plants contain upwards of 10% THC.

Sativa and Indica are the two main kinds of cannabis. Sativa hemp, on the other hand, is used primarily for medicinal purposes. Indica hemp has higher concentrations of THC. Sativa has a very low THC level, so it can’t be used recreationally.

An enabling law for the cultivation of medical cannabis

Medical cannabis hasn’t yet been approved for growing by the government, even though hemp is allowed to be grown for industrial purposes. A license should be issued to research institutes so that they can cultivate various hemp varieties and investigate their applications. To achieve these objectives, hemp cultivation needs to be standardized. Following this, the plant should be distributed legally.

The approval of medical-grade cannabis would revolutionize the industry. As a result, we will find out precisely what medical purposes cannabis strains can be used for. Our database of cannabis’ health benefits will be expanded through this effort.

Numerous studies have shown that the medicinal properties of cannabis can help treat conditions like chronic panic, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.

Researchers will be able to determine how this plant, which has been condemned, for so many years, can act as a type of medicine for children as well as adults.

Hemp production should be legalized and infrastructure needs to be supported

On vast tracts of land in the Himalayan Mountains, hemp cultivation has been an integral part of life for centuries. The officials’ unjustified ban prevented the farmers from living their normal lives.

Farmers will gain from fair prices with adequate legal and infrastructure support. In addition, they will be protected against black-market transactions. There is no need to increase the burden on taxpayers by turning the money that is in the black economy into taxable revenue.

Planting hemp within the legal framework will stimulate the export of hemp-derived products, allowing the government to diversify its revenue streams.

There is a high demand for hemp products offshore, and without the proper support from government authorities, we cannot meet this demand, depriving poor farmers of income. Indian governments must act fast and boldly, recognize the enormous industrial and medicinal potential of hemp, and provide infrastructure.

Hemp can be grown successfully in Himachal Pradesh because of its ideal climate. Several areas in Himachal Pradesh are suitable for growing hemp. This includes the Banjar Valley, The Saini Valley, Tosh-kutla regions, the Malana Valley, and the Manikaran Valley in Kullu.

There are suitable regions in the Mandi district, including Gada Goshaini (Siraj Region) and Chauhar Bali Chowki (Thachi and Didier Jhabach).

Several elements are present in this ecosystem that can produce THC, including dewy conditions, nitrogen-rich soil, and direct, but limited, sunlight.

Arid climate conditions and rich soils provided by the Himalayas allow for the cultivation of hemp of the highest quality. India can become the world’s leading hemp producer with the right policies from the government. Other countries cannot continue to lead while we drag our feet.


The Final Verdict

Even though hemp cultivation is legal in only a handful of states, the process is well underway. This is a good model for other states. This miracle crop must also be exploited by entrepreneurs in new ways.

Bringing the latest technology in the cultivation and processing of hemp to India is the goal of the Indian Hemp Association. Visit IHA’s website to learn more about its services.

The day is coming soon when hemp will propel the Indian economy forward.

By Jaspreet Singh

Jaspreet Singh is the CEO & Founder of Hemp in India. With Hemp in India, he has taken an initiative to Educate-Cultivate-Elevate the significance of the magical plant ‘Hemp’. Driven with the aim to save mother Earth, he is on a mission to redefine the future of Indian agriculture & create a pathway for sustainable living with the power of wonder crop Hemp.
He is actively involved in educating the benefits of industrial hemp to society and assisting farmers in discovering the best practices of cultivating hemp.

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