Ratan Tata and other investors are now funding this startup to grow marijuana

Er, isn't weed like illegal in India?

While our laws have made it abundantly clear that marijuana is not legal in India, former Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata and Google India’s managing director Rajan Anandan are now investing in, the cultivation of cannabis plant.

Now now, before every stoner brands Tata and Anandan their favourite people of all time, let’s just put it out there — it’s for medical research. Yeah, right. That’s what everyone says.

Seriously though. Apparently, this Mumbai-based startup named Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO) is keen on studying the medical uses of cannabis (1000 bucks say officials at BOHECO are about to be swarmed with internship requests).

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Partnering with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), BOHECO will be cultivating the plant to study its use for treatment of certain medical conditions such as breast cancer and epilepsy. BOHECO has already raised Rs 6.25 crores of funds to grow the plant and have already started cultivating it within a CSIR framework in Jammu, so it’s pretty legit.

(Courtesy: Reuters)

While speaking to The Economic Times, BOHECO’s co-founder Avnish Pandya said that their first product to be sold will be for palliative care, but it could take from one to four years before that happens.

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BOHECO’s work has attracted a lot of attention, both global and domestic. They are one of the few startups to be called to join the Singularity University Accelerator in California. Indian state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have shown some interest in their cultivation of cannabis and the HP government recently invited the startup for a collaborative project to commercialise the use of hemp.

The Bombay Hemp Company (Courtesy: BOHECO)

It seems India has been slowly moving towards the possibility of cannabis being legal. Earlier this year, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had called for the legalisation of marijuana, citing its medicinal properties. Even Tathagata Satpathy, MP from Dhenkanal, opposed the ban on cannabis and called it elitist.

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Talking about the company’s work, co-founder Jahan Peston Jamas said that they have already managed to create a form of nanocarbon renewable energy from hemp fibre. The company has already been involved in selling clothing and nutritional seeds from hemp. Bet you didn’t know marijuana had so many different uses. About time we legalised it, amirite?