While India sleeps, West’s hemp entrepreneurs make millions

Isn’t it funny… how sometimes we don’t appreciate what’s in our own backyard… until we see others enjoying it? 

Take yoga, for instance. 

It’s been part of Indian culture for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the West embraced it that many in India started to see its value. 

Now, as we just celebrated Yoga Day on 21st June 2023, it’s become a global point of discussion.

Now, let’s talk about hemp. 

It’s a similar story. 

Outside India, hemp entrepreneurs have built companies worth millions of dollars. 

Inside India, 9 out of 10 people don’t even know that it’s not a crime to grow industrial cannabis (hemp). 

And to be reminded that India was the first nation to acknowledge and promote the value of hemp… breaks my heart. 

But I’m not without hope. 

And why not draw inspiration from the entrepreneurs who have already built multimillion dollar hemp businesses?

In this article, we’re going to explore these global success stories. We’ll see how they’ve used Indian wisdom to build their hemp empires. 

And maybe, just maybe, India can reverse engineer their success. After all, if the world can profit from India’s wisdom, why can’t India do the same? Let’s dive in.


Hemp Entrepreneurs Inspired By India’s Hemp History

  1. From Controversy to Cannabis Crusader: The Inspiring Journey of Bruce Perlowin


Claim to Fame

  • CEO and founder of Hemp Inc, a leading publicly traded company in the US.
  • Pioneered the production of hemp-based products and services.
  • Earned the title of the King of Hemp for his visionary role in the industrial hemp industry.

Below the Surface

  • Started a career in the 1970s as a marijuana smuggler from Colombia.
  • Became one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the US.
  • Arrested and served a nine-year prison sentence, during which he discovered the benefits of hemp and its distinction from marijuana.
  • Realized the versatility of hemp as a crop for fiber, food, oil, medicine, and more.
  • Saw the potential of hemp to create a green economy that supports small farmers, veterans, and other marginalized groups.

What is He Up to Now

  • Founded Hemp Inc. in 2008 with a vision to create a green economy.
  • Owns the largest hemp processing facility in North America, based in Spring Hope, North Carolina.
  • Produces hemp fiber, oil, seeds, paper, clothing, building materials, and more.
  • Engaged in various social and environmental projects:
  • King of Hemp USA: Premium hemp pre-rolls and CBD oil.
  • Hemp University: Education and training for hemp farmers and entrepreneurs.

Veteran Village Kins Community: Sustainable living communities for veterans and others.


  • Hemp Saves The World: Advocacy for hemp as a solution for climate change, poverty, and health issues.

Lessons for Indian Hemp Entrepreneurs

  1. Challenges Shape Us: Bruce’s past wasn’t easy. But he turned it around. Can we, too, transform our challenges into opportunities? Just as the lotus blooms in muddy waters, can we rise above our circumstances?
  1. Nature First: Bruce believes in sustainable living. Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature. Shouldn’t we follow their footsteps? Hemp can be our bridge to the past, a tool for a greener future.
  1. Knowledge is Power: Bruce educates through Hemp University. In our land, where the ancient Nalanda University once stood, shouldn’t we value knowledge? By teaching our farmers, aren’t we strengthening our roots?
  1. Community Matters: Bruce supports veterans. It reminds me of our Indian villages, where community is everything. By helping one another, don’t we uplift the entire community?
  1. Innovate with Vision: Bruce uses hemp in many ways. Our Indian culture is diverse, yet united. Can hemp be our symbol of unity in diversity? A single plant with countless uses.

In the end, as the saying goes, “By their fruits, you shall know them.” What legacy will we leave in the hemp industry?

Isabel Lanza: Empowering Communities Through Hemp Innovation


Claim to Fame

  • Founder of Pachamama Hemp, a social enterprise empowering rural women in Peru.


  • Focuses on producing organic hemp textiles and promoting the benefits of hemp.
  • Advocates for sustainable and regenerative practices that benefit both communities and the environment.

Below the Surface

  • Inspired by travels to the Amazon rainforest and witnessing the challenges faced by indigenous people.
  • Draws wisdom from the Pachamama culture, valuing the care and respect for nature and its resources.


  • Created Pachamama to honor and support the Pachamama culture while promoting hemp as a solution for social and environmental issues.
  • Recognizes hemp as a versatile and eco-friendly crop that grows rapidly, requires minimal resources, and improves soil quality.

What is She Up to Now

  • Works with rural women in Peru, providing training and equipment to grow and process organic hemp.
  • Produces a range of hemp-based products, including yarn, fabric, bags, clothing, accessories, and home decor.
  • Ensures fair wages, access to healthcare, education, and microcredit for the women involved.
  • Pachamama aims to create a circular economy that benefits both people and the planet.
  • Empowers women, improving their quality of life and their families’ well-being.
  • Reduces carbon emissions, water consumption, and waste through the production of organic hemp textiles.
  • Raises awareness and increases demand for hemp as a sustainable alternative to conventional materials.

Lessons for Indian hemp entrepreneurs

  1. Empower the Marginalized

Isabel works with rural women in Peru. 

In our Indian villages, women are the backbone. 

Can we, too, empower our women through hemp? 

Just as the Ganges nurtures our lands, can hemp nurture our communities?

  1. Nature’s Wisdom

Isabel draws inspiration from the Pachamama culture. 

Our Indian traditions also teach respect for nature. 

Can we learn from our roots and tread lightly on the Earth? 

Hemp, with its minimal needs, can be our guide.

  1. Sustainability is Wealth

Through Pachamama, Isabel promotes eco-friendly practices. 

In a country like India, where the Chipko movement once flourished, shouldn’t we protect our environment? 

By choosing hemp, aren’t we choosing a greener future?

  1. Circular Economy

Isabel believes in benefiting both people and the planet. 

Our ancient Indian economy thrived on local resources. 

Can we revive that? 

With hemp, can we create a cycle of growth that benefits all?

  1. Championing Change

Isabel is more than an entrepreneur; she’s a change-maker. 

In our land, where leaders like Mahatma Gandhi sparked revolutions, can we too ignite change? 

By advocating for hemp, can we reshape our future?

3. Morris Beegle: Pioneering Hemp Entrepreneur on a Mission for Positive Change


Claim to Fame

  • Co-founder and President of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives), a prominent advocate for hemp solutions.
  • Producer of the NoCo Hemp Expo, the world’s largest hemp-centric exposition, trade show, and conference.


  • Publisher of Let’s Talk Hemp Media, a platform dedicated to curating hemp-related content.

Below the Surface

  • Background in the music industry, having founded Hapi Skratch Records, a hub for independent artists.
  • Introduced to hemp through Jack Herer’s book, which sparked his passion for sustainable alternatives.
  • Started creating hemp shirts and hats for the bands he represented, fueling his dedication to replacing unsustainable pSourceractices with hemp-based solutions.
  • Established the Colorado Hemp Company in 2012, offering consulting, marketing, and event production services.
  • Launched WAFBA in 2015, overseeing various hemp brands, including Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars, Tree Free Hemp paper and printing company, and One Planet Hemp apparel and accessories.
  • WAFBA is committed to fostering a green economy that supports communities, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.

What is He Up to Now

  • Engaged in educational and advocacy projects, providing training and workshops for hemp farmers and entrepreneurs.
  • Leading Hemp on the Slope, showcasing hemp innovations and opportunities in rural areas.
  • Advocating through Hemp Saves The World, emphasizing hemp’s potential in addressing climate change, poverty, and health issues.

Lessons for Indian hemp entrepreneurs

  1. Diverse Beginnings

Morris started in the music industry. 

India, with its rich tapestry of arts, can find inspiration here. 

Can our diverse backgrounds be our strength in the hemp industry? 

Just as the confluence of rivers enriches the soil, can our varied experiences enrich the hemp landscape?

  1. Education is Empowerment

Morris emphasizes education. 

In a land where the ancient Gurukul system thrived, shouldn’t we prioritize learning? 

By educating our farmers and entrepreneurs, can we sow the seeds of a brighter future?

  1. Innovation with Tradition

Morris was inspired by a book to explore hemp. 

Our Indian scriptures are filled with wisdom. 

Can we delve into our ancient texts and find sustainable solutions? 

Hemp, with its myriad uses, can be our bridge to the past and the future.

  1. Community and Environment

Through WAFBA, Morris champions a green economy. 

In India, where community is at the heart of our culture, can we also prioritize the environment? 

By choosing hemp, are we not only uplifting our communities but also safeguarding our planet?

  1. Advocacy and Action

Morris showcases hemp’s potential through expos and media. 

In our country, where movements like the Swadeshi Movement have shaped history, can we too advocate for change? 

By promoting hemp, can we pave the way for a sustainable and prosperous India?

4. Paul Benhaim: A Hemp Visionary Revolutionizing Research and Development

Claim to Fame

  • Recognized world-authority in hemp research and development.
  • Published author of hemp-related books and DVDs.
  • Founder and non-executive director of Elixinol Wellness, a global group with a focus on hemp.

Below the Surface

  • Discovered the nutritional qualities of hemp seed in Canada in 1991.
  • Investigated the limited acceptance of hemp and embarked on a worldwide quest for answers.
  • Created a highly successful hemp seed-based “chocolate bar” that became a top-selling health food item.
  • Developed a range of innovative hemp food products, including hemp milk, ice cream, bread, and more.


  • Pioneered a commercial hemp-based plastic as an eco-friendly alternative to petrochemicals.
  • Founded the Colorado Hemp Company in 2012, providing hemp consulting, marketing, and event production services.

What is He Up to Now

  • Launched WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) in 2015, overseeing multiple hemp industry brands.
  • Committed to creating a green economy that supports local communities, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.
  • Founded Elixinol Wellness in 2018, which owns Hemp Foods Australia and Elixinol LLC.
  • Chairman of The Hemp Plastic Company, aiming to tackle plastic waste with hemp-based solutions.
  • Continues to advocate for hemp’s transformative potential and champion its positive impact on society.

Lessons for Indian hemp entrepreneurs

1. Research and Curiosity

Paul’s journey began with understanding hemp’s nutritional qualities.

India, with its rich Ayurvedic traditions, has always valued nature’s bounties.

Marrying our ancient wisdom with modern research could unlock hemp’s myriad benefits.

The Rigveda’s tales of nature’s treasures remind us of the potential that lies in rediscovery.

2. Innovation in Food

From hemp milk to a unique “chocolate bar”, Paul’s innovations are commendable.

Imagine the fusion of hemp with India’s diverse cuisines.

Hemp-infused samosas or laddoos could be the next culinary sensation.

Spices have always enriched our food; hemp could be the next game-changer.

3. Eco-friendly Alternatives

Paul saw the future in hemp-based plastic.

In India, where rivers like Yamuna suffer from pollution, hemp offers a glimmer of hope.

Replacing harmful petrochemicals with hemp can be our tribute to Mother Earth.

The banyan tree stands tall, providing shade and shelter; hemp can be our shield against environmental degradation.

4. Green Economy Vision

Paul’s vision with WAFBA is clear: a thriving green economy.

A land that once saw the green revolution can now spearhead a hemp revolution.

Supporting local communities isn’t just an act; it’s a step towards a brighter future.

Monsoons rejuvenate our lands, and a green economy can breathe life into our nation’s soul.

5. Tackling Global Issues

Paul’s mission goes beyond business; it’s about addressing global challenges.

The Himalayas, India’s crown, deserve protection from plastic waste.

With hemp-based solutions, we can combat environmental threats.

The purity of the Ganges inspires us to keep our nation’s beauty intact.

In Conclusion

Bruce Perlowin, Isabel Lanza, Morris Beegle, and Paul Benhaim have transformed their visions into tangible reality.

If India’s history is a crown, hemp is the biggest jewel in it. 

Its potential is boundless, much like the mighty Himalayas, towering over numerous remote villages, where India’s farmers grow the best hemp in the world. 

Our ancestors knew its worth; can we rekindle that wisdom?

The stories of global pioneers beckon us.

Let’s not just be spectators; let’s be the change-makers.

For our land.

For our future.