A Growing Cannabis Industry In India

"The biggest misconception, from an outsiders’ perspective, is that India is an emerging market and that cannabis and its use in medicine is somehow a recent phenomenon."

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Each cannabis market around the world is unique, both in how cannabis is viewed by the locals, and the varying regulations that control the cannabis markets in these regions.

As someone who has every intention of working in the cannabis industry for decades to come, I like to take the time to learn the nuances of each market.

For today’s edition of Four PM I had the pleasure of sitting down with Abhishek, who has a wealth of knowledge about the cannabis industry in India, a diverse nation of over 1.36 billion people. 

Abhishek Mohan is the Chief Growth Officer at T9L and is currently the Co-founder of India’s very first vertically integrated cannabis company HempStreet.

What motivated you to join the cannabis industry?

The massive pain relief crisis that exists in India, with only about 8% of those in need of cannabis receiving it, was a very strong motivating factor.

Add to that the global opioid crisis that is creeping into some states in India, we felt that cannabis-based pain relief could help avert these two crises. We saw this as an extremely apt environment, to build from the ground up, a world-class institution.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about the cannabis industry in India? 

The biggest misconception, from an outsiders’ perspective, is that India is an emerging market and that cannabis and its use in medicine is somehow a recent phenomenon.

Within the country, we find a good acceptance of the cannabis plant and its various medicinal uses; however, there is still some apprehension when it comes to the segment of society that lived through the 1985 internationally enforced ban. 

What legislative changes need to occur in order for the cannabis industry to become the best version of itself in India?

I would not term it as a legislative change that is required since, in its current configuration, India (via holistic medicine or Ayurveda) is one of the few truly federally legal medical cannabis markets.

The key would be to develop some of the underlying components of the industry, such as research with organized and technologically upgraded cultivation. We have the chance to build a world-class ecosystem and the government is all ears.

What has you most excited about the resurgence of the cannabis industry in India in the coming years?

A few things come to mind.

The first being the availability of a vast pharmacopeia of cannabis-based formulations that are just waiting to be provided to the people to help combat the mass ailments that plague hundreds of millions of people in India. 

The second is the fact that for the first time, there is an industry that is fully indigenous—be it the plant, the farming of it, the form of medicine, or the vast patient base. There is a chance to build a world-class ecosystem to bring out and provide the best for all four.

The third, which is personal to Hempstreet, is the opportunity to create an institution that finally benefits all ends of the table. A cash crop for farmers (over 80% of our farmers have fewer than 2.5 hectares of land), responsible pain relief for hundreds of millions, a resurgence of Ayurveda (both domestically and internationally).

It’s definitely an exciting time for medicinal cannabis in India.


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