The state of Himachal in northern India legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp. This policy opens doors to new opportunities.
Himachal Pradesh adopted the Integrated Drug Prevention Policy on January 31, 2022. The Cabinet approved the move initiated by the Jay Ram Thakur government last spring.
The policy legitimized the cultivation of Cannabis sativa, the plant that provides not only cannabis, but also industrial hemp, for both medical and industrial use.
The state government adopted an integrated strategy that would enhance agriculture while maintaining control of rampant crop misuse.
In the next five minutes, you’ll benefit from a clear awareness of:
- A Brief History of Himachal Pradesh and Hemp Cultivation
- One-line summary of Section 8 and Section 10 of the NDPS Act (and why they matter)
- Repercussions of the Himachal Pradesh government’s decision
- The background that emerged in the light of this initiative
- The role of the COVID-19 pandemic in stimulating the development of industrial hemp cultivation policy
- Industrial hemp pathway in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is traditionally famous for the cultivation of hemp. The mountainous state, famous for its apples and tourism, has the ideal climate and soil for the cultivation of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Malana, located in the Parvati Valley, is famous for its high-quality cannabis. The site is popular in India and abroad for Malana Cream.
Since 1985, the production and sale of opium has been banned in India.
The Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act (India) had emphasized traditional farming. However, illegal production is difficult to eradicate.
This has resulted in drug addiction and the government’s loss of an important source of income.
The new policy aims to correct this aspect. Various government agencies will work together to reduce the illegal cultivation of plants that are high in THC.
It would not ban the conventional cultivation of hemp in the Kullu and Mandi region but would allow the cultivation of industrial hemp with low THC content.
This allows the agricultural class to maintain their livelihood without changing the crop and just changing the species.
Background information on the Integrated Drug Prevention Policy Initiative
Hemp has been used in India for thousands of years.
It produces karas resin, the flower provides the ganga (which is consumed by Lord Shiva, at least), and the seeds and leaves produce bhang (mixed into yoghurt-infused drinks for blissful bliss).
British morals were offended by anyone who drank anything they considered inappropriate.
The First and Second Opium Wars against China in the mid-19th century is clear evidence of their unease.
The Puritan philosophy itself was revisited in 1985 when the United States moved to India to ban opium cultivation, which led to the NDPS Act of 1985.
Over the past decade, the emergence of industrial hemp He changed the scenario.
There is a potential to become the “cash crop” of the future, enabling thousands to earn a decent living and saving the planet in the process.
The United States Agriculture Act of 2018 legalized cannabis production, and it opened doors. Hemp is no longer a taboo word, but an important raw material that could one day rank alongside cotton and sugarcane in global economic importance.
Changing the Indian perspective on industrial hemp cultivation
Meanwhile, India has also embraced the idea of legalizing trade in cannabis plants and related products.
In February 2017, Gujarat legalized bhang.
In July 2017, Manika Gandhi, a prominent Indian politician for three decades and then Minister of the Union of Women and Child Development, advocated for the legalization of medical marijuana.
A week after its proposal, Bombay Hemp and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research entered into a partnership to supply cannabis for research, a distinct precedent.
In December of the same year, Vicki Vaurora, founder of the Great Legalization Movement in India, a non-profit organization that advocated the legalization of marijuana, wrote an open letter to the Indian prime minister.
In December 2020, India voted to remove cannabis from the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the United Nations charter that brought the NDPS Act into force.
Legalization of cannabis cultivation – the path
Although the NDPS law has prohibited the cultivation of the cannabis plant, it does provide some leeway.
Article 8 of the law allows production and sale for medical and scientific purposes.
Section 10 allows each state to formulate its own laws in this regard, subject to the basic provisions of the NDPS Act.
Possession, transportation, sale and export outside the country are all possible for industrial or horticultural purposes.
Taking advantage of this in 2017, Uttarakhand became the first state to legalize cannabis production. Madhya Pradesh soon followed suit.
COVID 2020 – Final Momentum
Himachal Pradesh has a strong economy backed by tourism. But it was to be tested like never before.
On January 27, 2020, the epidemic reached India. Less than two months later, the government announced a nationwide lockdown.
Needless to say, the economy of Himachal Pradesh was bleeding heavily.
The GDP of $24 billion fell as tourists stopped coming for several months. The second wave in 2021 exacerbated the crisis.
(1 billion dollars equals 7.5 crores; one crores equals 10 million).
On August 8, 2020, CM was quoted as saying that the ongoing pandemic has cost the country 30,000 crore ($4 billion). Eighteen months from that date, the numbers look pretty frightening.
Recent figures show that the country’s debt has grown to ₹ 60,500 crore, and the situation has demanded strict measures.
Ultimately, the state hopes to earn ₹18,000 crore through the controlled cultivation of cannabis. Taxes will be crucial to debt relief.
The epidemic also caused widespread unemployment.
Thousands of drivers, guides, hotel staff, and anyone else who took advantage of the massive influx of tourists suffered.
One fact that illustrates the scale of the problem –
Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), the government-owned bus service, incurred a loss of Rs 840 crore in 2020-21. The losses across the entire tourism sector were probably hundreds of times worse.
With an estimated 2,400 acres planted with illegal cannabis and nearly a thousand crore marijuana smuggled abroad each year, it was time for a different path.
Thanks to the Integrated Drug Prevention Policy, the employment of 50,000 was guaranteed. Definitely a welcome move after two years of hardship.
The Cannabis Foundation He played a leading role in introducing industrial hemp cultivation in Uttarakhand.
As I noted earlier, the state made it legal in 2017.
It was a perfect opportunity to introduce a new cash crop that required very little input and was powerful.
Since then, the Hemp Foundation has gone from strength to strength.
From helping farmers grow hemp to processing the harvest, Hemp Corporation has emerged as one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis producers in India.
The future of industrial hemp in India is bright
The change in Himachal Pradesh provides Hemp Corporation with a way to accelerate its plans for growth and expansion of capacity.
Lessons learned in Uttarakhand will do well. Within five years, we have developed hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the process involved.
It’s not easy to tame the cliffs at eight thousand feet. The terrain is rugged and offers no room for error. Mechanization is out of the question.
The poor hill-dwellers have little chance of improving their financial condition. While the men leave for the cities to look for work, the women live alone in the villages. There is no cultivation because of the scarcity of water.
It’s amazing and I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw “Vishal Vivek Singh” ourselves.
The cure is now possible because the growing popularity of hemp fabric in the West can transfer wealth into their hands.
Hemp Foundation looks forward to a new era of prosperity in Himachal Pradesh in the near future.