In India, a blend of philosophy and spirituality has surrounded the cannabis plant since ages. It is a part of our myth and culture, and has been mentioned in the Vedas as the food of the Hindu god, Shiva, who is frequently found intoxicated with the leaves of the plant. Since the plant indeed has very potent intoxicating qualities, it is often used as a recreational narcotic in India, as well as all over the world.
The recreational use of cannabis is not legal in India. However, in 2018, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to allow commercial cultivation of hemp crop. This step was facilitated by Peston Jamas and his seven batchmates, all passouts from Mumbai’s HR College of Commerce and Economics who quit their jobs to found the company called BOHECO (Bombay Hemp Company), the first company to be allowed to make CBD (Cannabidiol) products in India.The idea of moving forward with such an endeavour occurred to Peston Jamas on a trip to the quaint town of Margaret River in Australia where he found the local inhabitants in perfectly good health. On trying to investigate the reasons behind it, he found out that the inhabitants of that town used grapes and hemp seed on a day-to-day basis for the upkeep of their health. They used hemp seed for making oil, as well as for medicinal purposes, and a variety of other uses. The group of friends claim that it took them two years to get a law in place in India,that would allow hemp cultivation.
The company started their business in Uttarakhand, and eventually extended it to Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. Even though the government of India had made the venture legal, it was still to gain social sanction. Peston James fondly recalls how during the early days of engaging with customers at organic markets and trade shows, they chanced upon an elderly customer who mistook “Hemp sees” for “Ham” and decided not to purchase any products as she believed they were non-vegetarian.
However, a few such obstacles did not hinder the venture from prospering further, and carving out a space for itself in the commercial hemp industry. In January 2015, the company bagged the Ashoka fellowship for being change makers in the industry.
BOHECO makes medicinal products for both consumption as well as cosmetic purposes. These include power-packed shelled seeds, plant-based protein powder, as well as cold-pressed multipurpose oil, CBD oils for skin, arthritis pain and other ailments and skin conditions. You can also use hemp seed powder and hemp seed oil in different kinds of food like chapatis, sandwiches and noodles. The company had already raised a 6.25 crore in 2017 from a group of investors led by Ratan Tata, Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, and Rajan Anandan, Google India’s managing director, Sanvar Oberoi.
Leaves gleaned from the choicest of cannabis plants in the foothills of the Himalayas, are used by the company to make their products and also change the narrative around cannabis, which had off late only been associated with its side effects.
You can check out their range of products here.
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