Can India Continue To Ignore The Treasure In Its Backyard?

Did you know In 1987, India was only 2 years behind the best-in-class, in chip manufacturing technology?
Today, we are 12 generations behind.
How? And why does it matter?
How: Due to red tape, lack of infrastructure, bureaucracy, corruption, and a lack of visionary leadership.
Why does it matter now: Because we are making the same mistake again. 
This time with Hemp. 
Is hemp worth as much as semiconductors? 
Canada legalized hemp in 2017.  5 years down the line, their CBD market was worth a whopping 446 million USD
That’s a serious chunk of change.  
But wait till you hear what the impact of hemp legalization looks like within just a year. 
Hemp was legalized in Australia in 2017.  
In the financial year 2019-20, it contributed around $6 million to the Australian economy.
The US legalized hemp in 2018. 
In 2019, the North American hemp-derived cannabidiol market was valued at a staggering USD 1.7 billion.
Imagine if hemp became mainstream in India today.
By 2024, we could potentially be a global superpower. 
That’s the cost – our global superpower status – that we are bearing for being hesitant about hemp. 
But hey, isn’t hemp already legal in India?
Yes. 100% legal. In fact, in 2021 FSSAI recognized hemp as a food source.
So what’s the problem then?
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are the ONLY 2 Indian states to have legalized industrial hemp. Rest? They prefer to stay mum. 
So what can we do?
How much are we losing out on if India remains hesitant about hemp?
Find answers in this blog right here. 
Economic Potential of Hemp: What we are missing out on?1. A slice of the global hemp pie
The Asian Cannabis Report estimated that around 15 million people use bhang in India every year. Mostly during Holi. 
That’s the kind of local market that we have. If that shocked you, take a seat before you read how much the global hemp market can be worth.  The global hemp market is projected to reach $82.3 billion by 2027.
And we’d miss out on a slice of that if we still don’t give us the hemp hesitation. 
That’s something we really can’t afford. Not especially when we are struggling with trade deficits.
With a decline in traditional exports and falling oil prices, our trade deficit reached a 20-month low in April 2023
Hemp presents a viable solution to alleviate this deficit to some extent.
[US alone imported $87.8 million in hemp in 2021]
By focusing on hemp production and export, we can diversify our export portfolio. And tap into the growing global demand for hemp-derived products. 
Bonus benefit: This will also position India as a key player in the global hemp market. 2. Jobs that could pull Indian youth out of unemployment
A study by New Frontier Data revealed that national legalization of hemp in the United States could result in $128.8 billion in tax revenue. 
And an estimated 1.6 million new jobs.
What does it have to do with India’s unemployment?
Well, for starters, no one bothered to even study the impact of nationwide hemp legalization on the Indian market. So the American figures are all we have for reference. 
And secondly, as of April 2023, India’s unemployment rate stands at 8.11%. That’s a rise from 7.8% in March 2023.
So it is clear that we need a way to fight the demon of no jobs. And do it fast. 
But what’s surprising is that the unemployment rate in rural India fell.  
SourceNow imagine if rural India could offer even more employment opportunities with the mainstream acceptance and nationwide legalization of hemp. 
That would mean more job seekers can turn to farms, cultivate hemp, contribute to the economy, and bring down the national unemployment rates. 
This also brings us to another potential economic benefit of hemp legalization… 3. Agricultural revitalization
The distressing statistic of an agricultural laborer dying by suicide every 2 hours in 2021, as reported by the NCRB, highlights the Indian agrarian crisis. 
The combination of extreme weather conditions, low production, and the resulting financial distress has pushed farmers to the brink. 
On the other hand, more than 5.5% of Indian barren lands remain unutilized. 
Hemp can revive this barren land through phytoremediation. In just 90 days. 
It grows 12-15 feet tall with deep roots and can restore chemically damaged lands in India. 
By cultivating hemp, the government’s target of converting 50 lakh hectares of barren lands by 2030 can be achieved. While also generating income for farmers and stakeholders.
Also, in states like Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, for example, where marijuana grows naturally, local communities heavily rely on it as their primary source of income. 
Unfortunately, due to its illegal status, they are forced to sell it at low prices to cunning traders. Thus, perpetuating their poverty. Not to mention they live in constant fear of legal repercussions. 
Legalizing hemp would eliminate this cycle of hardship and fear. What can we do for quick hemp action?
Reimagine Hemp PoliciesWe’re in 2023, not the British Raj times. Let’s change how we see hemp.Make rules simpler for getting licenses and checking hemp quality.Let’s have one clear rule for hemp for the whole country.
Invest in Hemp’s FutureWe don’t spend much on research. But hemp is worth it.Build research labs and hire India’s best biotech experts to work exclusively on hemp.Learn the best ways to grow hemp.Find out how to use hemp in our top 10 sectors.Think of new hemp products that people will love.
Bridge the Gap: Collaboration is KeyWe all need to work together, not against each other.Government, researchers, and business leaders should join hands.Share what we know and use our resources together.Make the best plan for hemp’s future.
Empower Through Hemp EducationEveryone needs to know about hemp.Create training programs for farmers, business people, and experts.Teach them how to grow hemp and make products from it.
Educate the Heart and Mind of IndiaMany people have wrong ideas about hemp.Start big campaigns to tell everyone about hemp’s good sides.Clear up wrong ideas and replace them with the truth.Let’s make India a place where hemp is loved and used.
Remember what our elders said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” 
Let’s start with hemp now. 
For a better future. For India. For all of us.
The clock is ticking. Let’s act now
In 1934, the USA repealed a 10-year prohibition on alcohol. And alcohol brought $1.35 billion in excise taxes. [Compare that to just $420 million in income tax for the same year]. 
Legalizing hemp can bring in similar or even better results for India. 
Hemp legalization can help us get:
A slice of the global hemp pieMore jobs for IndiansA solution for the agrarian crises With other countries already reaping the rewards of hemp, we must act swiftly to avoid falling behind. 
It’s time to embrace hemp as a catalyst for economic growth, sustainable development, and a testament to our world leadership. 
This isn’t the sixties, so let’s not let the semiconductor story repeat with the super crop.