Is Hemp legal or illegal in India?

Shivani K ·
Is Hemp legal or illegal in India?

Hemp Seeds- Legal or Illegal?

India’s liaison with hemp dates back to the times of yogi’s and Vedic India. Hemp is, in fact, an Ayurvedic food. It goes by the name of Vijaya. First discovered in the foothills of the Himalayas, hemp seeds were seen beyond the name tag of being a drug for thousands of years. Once people are made aware of the potential of hemp benefits, then weeding out the stigma will not be that hard.

The wide application of hemp in the field of medicine, textile and sustainable living is seeing the sunlight after decades of stringent regulation and criminalization. The only issue stopping hemp from reaching every household is the stigma attached to it. Many are not aware that our ancient scriptures, like Veda and Ayurveda, have elaborated on the cultivation of hemp and its benefits.

Why Such Fuss About Hemp? Is it justified?

Handed down to the humans by the majestic Himalayan ranges, hemp seeds are nutritionally dense and eco friendly. It is often misjudged to be similar to marijuana. The surrounding chaos prevents people from looking beyond the label. Although marijuana and hemp are two sides of the same coin, they are not even close to being the same. The key difference is the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content, a compound present only in marijuana that induces stimulant effects, but hemp on the other hand doe does not contain harmful THC like its mischievous cousin. Read about the benefits of hemp here.

Hemp is a very versatile plant that thrives in every climate. Industrial hemp can be cultivated to make medicine, biofuel, paper, eco-friendly plastic, paint, construction, personal care products, animal food, textiles. Living up to the name of earth’s most sustainable natural resource. Now the question invariably arises - Is hemp legal in India?

History Of Hemp- How The Criminalization Started

Hemp is native to the Indian subcontinent, and the story of hemp dates back to the days of British rule, hemp was banned in all colonial countries in 1894. Later was in market circulation until the mid-1980’s when the law was imposed. Indian narcotic drug and psychotropic substances act banned the distribution of cannabis, but this act allows controlled and regulated cultivation for industrial purposes. It’s only since 2015 that a more liberal approach to hemp has been adopted.

In the early 20th century, a lot of entrepreneurs and open-minded capitalists plunged into pioneering sustainable hemp products and breaking the stereotype. Hemp oil, hemp powder, hemp soap, hemp paper, hemp seeds, hemp t-shirts, hemp stationery are currently fueling a lot of startups. Well, if you are still wondering - is Hemp illegal in India? The quick answer to that is no!

Hemp Seeds Beyond 20th Century

India and hemp can be a wonderful association if conducted in a conducive way. India heavily depends on farming and hemp, as a crop grows very fast in every climate without the use of pesticides. This could be the solution to the huge economical burden that the Indian farmers are facing today. Hemp contributes to diverse sectors of production with a negligible amount of agricultural endeavour. We have a lot of Indian youth who are going against uncertainty, worried parents and financial security to take a plunge into the entrepreneurial culture and introduce India to innovative hemp products.

The Miraculous Crop - Hemp

From being used as rope ties to cattle to vegan protein powders, you can now find sustainable hemp products in most leading industrial sectors - hemp has done it all! It is the go-to supplement for iron and protein. They help to lower cholesterol, boost immunity, promote excellent muscle function, maintain hormonal health, heart health, improved cognition, glowing skin, and anti-inflammatory. They are also a rich source of fibre, zinc, magnesium, vitamin -E, B and manganese. In addition to all these nutritional benefits, they can be used for sustainable clothing, making paper, biofuel, paint, cooking oil, cosmetics, beauty products and more. Learn all you need to know about hemp here.


Apart from policy, one of the challenges of hemp is the mindset of people to fully realise their wonderful benefits, but altogether a good beginning has been made. Entrepreneurs have found creative ways to take advantage of this incredibly nutritious and sustainable component for the future of the Indian economy. Hemp could be a saviour for Indian farmers and bring about a large scale revolution in the field of self-sustenance farming.

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