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What is Hemp?
Usually, we use the hemp plant for various purposes. You can grow this eco-friendly plant on soil without using fertilizers and other chemicals. Comparatively, it requires very little water than the other crops. However, most people consider this fast-growing plant as a weed.
Although hemp has incredible versatility, it often gets a negative strike because of its association with marijuana. But, they are not the same.
While marijuana comes from the plant Cannabis Indica, Hemp comes from Cannabis Sativa. Cannabis Indica is associated with psychoactive products, whereas Cannabis Sativa is a different plant that belongs to the Cannabis group.
Origins of Hemp in India
Well, this holds a long history in India. According to the Vedas, Hemp is more than three thousand years old. You can find the native of this plant in the Himalayas. Moreover, it is also grown in Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. Many districts in India today do have wild cannabis.
Traditionally, Indians use hemp for Ayurvedic Medicine, Textile Industry, and more. We started using different parts of the hemp plant for various uses. But majorly, we use it for curing people.
Indian Hemp and The Law
Is hemp legal in India?
Hemp in India has been developing for centuries now. So, in this question, the forefront is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC makes you feel ‘high.’ However, hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC. It implies that this plant does not have any adverse effects.
Though it has a wide range of industrial uses, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) say that it ultimately leads to the production and distribution of drugs.
In 1980, the government laid a ban on cannabis across the regions. The British Indian Government conducted a complete analysis for studying cannabis in India. Then onwards, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission regulates its production, processing, and usage.
Soon, certain Indian states also presented different laws for the ban. These laws suppressed and criminalized the production of products that consisted of even a minimal amount of cannabis, especially narcotic products.
Later, two states- Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh legalized hemp cultivation. Other states like Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Manipur are also ready to permit hemp cultivation. A few organizations and entrepreneurs support the use of hemp and are encouraging its non-narcotic values.
If anyone wants to research hemp, they can get a license for it anywhere across the country.
Hemp in India – Future Outlook
On one side, hemp is a crop that gives millions of dollars of revenue. On the other hand, farmers are struggling to pay off their loans. We are dealing with such paradox even when some states of India can cultivate hemp.
Thus, if hemp can benefit us, let us see how it can help our economy.
1. Source of Quality Fiber:
Across the world, including India, cotton is chosen as a natural fiber for clothing. We know that cotton takes approximately nine months to grow.
However, hemp grows within 3 to 4 months and takes comparatively lesser water. Thus, it is a highly beneficial crop for clothing purposes.
2. Source of Paper:
Generally, we make paper from the tree trunks of timber. But only a few of us know that we can make them from hemp also.
– Hemp gives four times more paper than a single acre of timber can produce.
– The short yield cycle gives the possibility of producing more crops at any time of the year.
– Hemp paper is more sturdy and long-lasting than regular paper.
3. Improves Exports:
The Indian land provides a high potential for the cultivation of hemp. Thus, exporting hemp and its products would aid in good export relations. It will contribute to the Indian economy and help it reach greater heights.
It is an alternative and sustainable version of concrete. Hempcrete is not at the same level as regular concrete. But the construction industry in India will be highly beneficial in terms of the functionality hempcrete provides. It also brings in the reduction of costs of operation.
5. Medicinal Uses:
Pharmacological researchers found that cannabis has too many medicinal values and can treat 25 diseases. Talking particularly about hemp, you can use it as an analgesic, stomachic, narcotic, antispasmodic, and sedative.
Thus, hemp can benefit India and help it grow if we remove the ban on its cultivation and usage.
States are exploring new ways of exploiting the perks of this crop. Also, the Indian Hemp Association is putting efforts into the latest technology for the cultivation of hemp.
So, the day is not far when the Indian economy will be at a boon due to hemp.