HEMP WILDLEAF, A BANGALORE-BASED STARTUP BRINGS HEMP PRODUCTS TO THE INDIAN MARKET AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE2 years ago Rituka M
Cannabis is a debated product in the Indian market, with regards to its legality and use. Although Cannabis, in its various forms, is widely consumed across the country. With pressure from the international community to declare Cannabis as a hard drug, the Indian Government passed the Narcotics Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS”) that defined the term, as well as banned the production & sale of cannabis resin and flowers, but permitted States to regulate the use of leaves and seeds. The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances has recognized cannabis as a source of biomass, fiber, and high-value oil, and allows the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes such as making industrial hemp or horticulture. The Government of India also encourages the research and cultivation of cannabis with low THC content. Given the prominent use of hemp or cannabis in the Northern & Eastern Indian States, the 2015 liberation movement for the re-legalize cannabis in the country began and the proponents have been working in tandem with several organizations to legalize cannabis in India.
Vignesh Murthy, an introvert with a strong environmental spirit began his journey to explore nature & landed upon the hemp plant. His experiences in Himachal Pradesh brought him his awakening and he began his own hemp-products company to create awareness about the benefits of hemp across the country. He began research into hemp in 2012, establishing his company Wildleaf by 2016, working in tandem with agricultural universities, Himalayan farmers, and environmental groups to make individuals as well as the government aware of the various applications & benefits of hemp in daily life. This Bangalore-based sustainable, farmer community-focused hemp-based brand aims to bring this expensive & luxurious product to the everyday consumer at an affordable price. The objective behind marketing the hemp products at lower prices than the industry rates was to make the goodness of hemp available in every kitchen and household. Hemp farming in India, due to the various legal regulations is not widely practiced, and the commercial plant harvest comes from wild hemp plants. Currently, the startup offers products such as Hemp Oils, Hearts, Flour, and Seeds through its website, Instagram account & Clubhouse account. With plans to enter the restaurant & cafe business, and expand the product range into hemp soaps, beer, cheese, wine, and concrete products (where the stems can be used to create fire-proof, sustainable, and futuristic houses) upon approval from FSSAI considering hemp as a food product.
The hemp-product market was estimated at $3.53 billion in 2019 which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32.17% to $18.81 billion by 2025 according to the Valuates Reports, 2020. With startups introducing hemp into verticals such as healthcare, FMCG, beauty & feminine hygiene care, textile & lifestyle products, the Indian hemp product ecosystem is estimated to boom while encouraging farmers to engage in hemp farming, reducing unemployment & malnutrition. Removing hemp & cannabis from the NDPS Act would be a step closer to promoting the benefits & uses of this product across the country, and remove any kind of misinformation or prejudice surrounding hemp & cannabis.
*(Inputs from an interview with YourStory)*