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Is India earning on the fraction of the cannabis users they have within their 1.3 billion residents?  The country ranks third in the world’s top 10 cannabis consumption despite the laws circling cannabis being confusing. 

India’s capital city New Delhi is among the global top weed list. Consuming at around 38.3 tons of cannabis in 2018 alone. The megacity Mumbai also makes it in the top 10.

Ancient History of Cannabis in India

Cannabis in India has been used for nearly 4,000 years ago. The plant is described in sacred Hindu texts (The Vedas) as one of the five sacred plants. Cannabis is then known that a guardian angel lived within its leaves.

The Vedas called cannabis as a root of bliss, a blessing provider, and a bringer of freedom. During this time, almost every day, cannabis was smoked at religious rites and sacred rituals.

The plant— homegrown cannabis and hemp are considered legal in India, with a different legal status being drafted for the hemp plant and cannabis itself.

The most consumed form of cannabis in India is the charas. This is a shady type of resin that relates to hashish. It is monitored in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS).

Moving Forward to The 20th Century

The study on cannabis in India began in 1894 by The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission. The Indo-British found that the moderate use of hemp drugs was;

  • attended by no evil results at all,” 
  • produces no harmful effects on the mind” 
  • no moral injury whatever.”

The board uncovered that suppressing the use of ‘bhang’—an edible cannabis mixture would be unfair as its purpose is an ancient custom. It also has some sacred use among Hindus, that it is pure in balance, and even that alcohol causes more harm.

Up until the 1980s, when a proposal came into success, ganja, charas, and bhang were clear and used. In some cases, they were sold from government-owned shops.

The Two Sides of The Story

According to India’s murky governance and legal framework, charas and ganja production is illegal. On the other hand, while the production of cannabis goods with seeds and leaves is allowed, with many states having their laws on banning or restricting use. 

The ruling in India does not accept the leaves of the cannabis plant as a narcotic and recognize the leaves that grow in the wild to be cropped. Cannabis Seeds and leaves formulate a popular liquid cannabis drink in India called bhang, which is drunk around the yearly Holi festival in March and has been applied in food and drink since as early as 1000BC in ancient India.

Legend says that Shiva fell asleep under a leafy plant on a hot day. When he awoke, his wonder led him to try the leaves of the plant, and, on becoming renewed, he made the plant his favorite food and became known as the Lord of Bhang.

Alongside the plant’s ancient roots in India, cannabis was explored in 1000 BC within ancient Ayurvedic texts where cannabis indica is mentioned as being used for pain relievers, aphrodisiacs, anxiety, rabies, and many other ailments.



Potential Economic Growth

India’s economy has been falling over the past year, embodied by several top companies that were losing traction in the stock market. In conclusion, the country needs to think innovatively to push growth back into its flailing economy.

Canada and several states in the US took the bold step to legalize cannabis. Also, Mexico is riding on the waves of legalization while this may appear like a brash conclusion to many, it has produced a vital economic gain. 

If India began to capitalize on their nation’s widespread cannabis use, it could well be a catalyst for pushing massive economic growth. The value of cannabis in India is expressly cheap in comparison to other global competitors and one of the world’s cheapest cannabis ratings.  

Although, if cannabis was legalized and taxed by the state, the capital city could net around a hundred million dollars. This is if the weed was taxed in the same way as the usual frequently sold tobacco brand in India.

A Fraction of Earnings On Legal Cannabis Market

Another factor would be if India legally shipped it to other countries where it was legal, like the US and Canada. As the regular wage in India is notably lower than in the western countries, the expense of production would be far lower. This means that a possible mark-up in exporting would be greatly higher than if it was sold locally.

It could also be a wholly different selling point as cannabis products manufactured in the Kashmiri region of India and Pakistan are completely distinct from wherever else in the globe due to its mountainous yet warm climate, enabling cannabis to naturally flourish. In conclusion, it will attract foreign and local Cannabis Investors.

Bottom line

Although making cannabis prohibited in India is viewed to limit the use, as is the same in other nations, the illegality of substances pushes the black market, and the exchange globally continues to be a big problem. Legalizing cannabis could generate a new cash crop for India with a probably high revenue stream and create a new job for thousands of locals and pull the economy back out of the soil.

Published by:

Natalie Gray is a Biochemical Engineer. She works in the Research and
Development team that focuses on the design and construction of unit processes. She is a recreational marijuana supporter and her love for organic chemistry brought her to medical cannabis. She grows her own flowers, working on different projects and study everything above and under cannabis roots.For more awareness and news follow me @

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