Monday, March 27, 2023

India’s Innovation Is Booming In An Underground Cannabis-Centric Market

Among the top ten cities in the world consuming the most cannabis per capita per year, Delhi and Mumbai make the list, even though cannabis is yet illegal in India under the 1985 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Recreational usage has been on the rise in the last few years and counting, in keeping with a global shift in pot perception.

During this time of growth against the odds, Indian entrepreneurs have gotten quite crafty to create a market of smoking accessories that are affordable, functional and even fun. Recently, Quartz Media, LLC reported that entrepreneurs Kunaal Kapoor and Nikunj Ahuja have had great success in the “tobacco accessory” industry.

The idea came to them during a sesh when they were 20-year-old graduate students from Mumbai. Now, it’s been eight years and not only did they bring their initial idea of colorful tips for joints and blunts to fruition, they created an entire product line of over 50 offerings that cover the needs of stoners, er, tobacco smokers, across India.

After their LLP SlimJim was established, Kapoor and Ahuja kept the creativity flowing. They added things like rolling machines and grinders to their stock list and soon ecommerce was booming. And they brought in some healthy competition. OCB and RAW rolling papers were pretty much the standard in India. The duo did their research and found a way to bring quality papers onto the market at 50 percent the cost, saving their customers money while also profiting SlimJim.

An interesting addition to their paraphenalia is the sale of seeds, mainly imported from the U.S. Though growing your own is as illegal along with possession of course, the seeds are said to be of the memorabilia category and thus allowed.

“The seeds are excluded in NDPS act, so possession and sale is not an issue,” Sarthak Maggon, a New Delhi-based lawyer, told Quartz. “And as far as hydroponic devices go, they can also be used to grow vegetables, and hence are not directly related with sale or possession of marijuana.”

Though these entrepreneurs have carved out a piece of the market for themselves, they aren’t a monopoly and other innovators are coming out of the woodwork with their own products and wares. It’s a brave new world out there and it’s growing fast. Getting ahead in a smart, legal manner is the name of the game.



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