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How India could become a global cannabis leader

Despite the country's strict cannabis laws, India stands a good chance at dominating the global market, even if medical cannabis is merely used for a restricted number of applications

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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India’s medical cannabis industry could boom if regulators can be convinced of the plant’s efficacy as a medicine. This is what the only licensed medical cannabis cultivator in the country, Avnish Pandya, believes.

India’s government will consider cannabis on a global scale

As the co-founder of Bombay Hemp Company, Pandya knows a lot about the medical cannabis industry and in particular, India’s medical cannabis industry.

Pandya says that the most productive way to create a sustainable industry is to encourage collaboration between regulators and companies. By doing so, the potential of cannabis as a medicine can be proven and integrated into the country’s existing medical system.

“If we’re able to scientifically prove results, and provide them with enough statistical data, the [government] will be more willing to fast-track the whole system,” Pandya said.

“The government is also looking at this from a global point of view. If India gets this 9clinical testing of medical cannabis] right, then it means India could have access to a lot of other countries, knowing that cannabis-based medicine is something that has been used in India for a long time already,” he added.

Cannabis laws in India prevent patients from accessing the plant is included in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.

Anyone who is caught using or in possession of illegal cannabis will be punished. Generally, punishment for cannabis-related crimes in India ranges from rehabilitation to 20 years behind bars. However, this is dependent on the seriousness of the crime.

If grown for scientific purposes, cannabis cultivation in India is legal. State governments provide licenses to those cultivators. The downside is that patients have absolutely no access to the healing plant’s medical powers.

India’s cannabis industry to use medical grade cannabis and derivatives for research the country’s strict cannabis laws, India stands a good chance at dominating the global market, even if medical cannabis is merely used for a restricted number of applications.

Google India Managing Director, Rajan Anandan, and the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, have already declared their support for Bombay Hemp Company. These are just two examples of the many high-profile names to have invested in the company thus far.

“Lots of institutions in India want to research the medical benefits of cannabis,” says Pandya.

Should the government decide to get on board, it will mean big things for the economy and medical cannabis patients at large. Medical grade cannabis and derivatives will be studied in-depth to prove their suitability for patients with widespread ailments and illnesses, from epileptic seizures to cancer.

The director of research and development at Bombay Hemp Company strives to study and develop cannabis’ medical properties for the treatment of chemotherapy-related side effects and epilepsy.

“Depending on the decision of the Drugs Controller General of India, we may even skip the initial research phases and begin with human trials,” he concluded.

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How India could become a global cannabis leader