Evolution of Hemp Culture in India

Selling and smoking Cannabis in India was legal until 1985. On 14 November 1985, the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act, 1985 came into force. As stated by the Act, consumption of cannabis and its derivatives (charas/hashish, bhang and marijuana), which has higher amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is considered illegal while cannabis with THC lower than 0.3% can get legal approval for commercial cultivation from state governments.

Industrial hemp was for a long time wrongly linked with marijuana which is why not many know about the importance of this sustainable plant. While the level of THC in an average batch of marijuana is 5% to 20%, the maximum THC content in industrial hemp is 0.3%. 

The ancient crop is slowly making its comeback to the mainstream. Uttarakhand is the first state in India to legalise the cultivation of industrial hemp. Uttar Pradesh and Manipur are the other two Indian states to allow the cultivation of the crop for commercial purpose. 

Recently, several designers have started incorporating hemp fabric into their work. Agricultural training programmes are also being set up to spread knowledge of hemp across farming communities. Due to the rising demand and interest in hemp-based products, a number of companies have started selling hemp products in the market today

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