On September 1, Pakistan sent ripples through the Internet by approving the industrial use of marijuana and hemp, thereby tapping into the $25 billion industry. While India has had mythical associations and a history of cannabis use, it is a tiny industry in the country. In India, Marijuana has been in use for centuries in various forms, including ganja, bhang, hashish, etc. It was even legal up until 1984. Even today, Cannabis is extensively used and traded in India, although illegally. It is a thriving industry under the covers. While our neighbors are pushing ahead, we are entirely left behind.
From Himachal Pradesh to Odisha to Kerala, India has a variety of ganja to choose from. India is slowly opening up to the industry, which is worth billions of dollars. The global market estimations bluntly show the promises the cannabis industry offers.
Global Outlook On Cannabis
We know that the psychedelic properties of weed are no secret. But 2020 has seen a lot of steam concerning the movement for the legalization of marijuana and experimentation with psychedelics in the medical industry. Apart from medical marijuana, the plant’s recreational use has been a common practice worldwide, sometimes in shadows but legal in countries like Canada. As per the 2019 stats, Canada has around 190 growing facilities for the plant, while its retail sales touched 180 million Canadian dollars.
In the case of Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize the plant, it brought changes to the economy. The country saw 4000 new jobs being generated by 2019 end.
Similarly, China, the largest producer of hemp, contributes to one-third of the world’s hemp, valued at US$1.7b in 2017. The increasing adoption of Cannabis makes it one of the most promising global markets. A report by Grand View Research, Inc. forecasts that the international legal market for Cannabis could boost to $66.3 billion by 2024. It is estimated to grow $85 million per year.
India And Cannabis
As opposed to this, India’s CBD industry is supported by a few startups, mainly involved in CBD (non-intoxicating as opposed to THC), yet to make a mark on the global grounds. Their biggest challenge could be the NDPS Act that prohibits the sale and production of cannabis flowers and resin. A 2019 study conducted by AIIMS reported that about 7.2 million Indians had consumed Cannabis within the past year.
According to a UNODC report, the retail price of Cannabis in India was $0.10 per gram, the lowest of any country in the world even though it is illegal in the country. India is slowly opening up to the industry. In 2018, Uttrakhand became the first state in the country to allow commercial cultivation of the hemp crop over 1,000 hectares on a pilot basis. The Manipur government is also seriously considering legalizing medical marijuana to help boost the state’s revenue. India already has a market and a consumer base, even though it is illegal. Legalization could make India a global leader.
But, it seems better days are coming for cannabis enthusiasts as the movement to legalize weed is gaining momentum worldwide. While the adoption of Cannabis into the medical industry might be even breakthrough, accepting its recreational use would not be far away either.
On the moral side, overdosing on Cannabis might indeed be an issue, which is why many countries do not promote or even ban marijuana along with psychedelics. But, the illegal drug industry has attained growth in the shadows even otherwise. The legalization of Cannabis can help in removing the stigma, spreading awareness, and even support the development of the economy.