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Ratan Tata, Google India MD Rajan Anandan fund India’s startup researching cannabis: Report

Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons who is widely known for backing entrepreneurs, and Rajan Anandan, Google India managing director, have funded Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco), India’s first cannabis startup for medical research, according to a report in The Economic Times.

The medical research startup was set up with an aim to explore ways for finding many uses of the narcotic drug for medical purposes. To realise that goal, Boheco roped in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research as a partner.

Ratan Tata.

Ratan Tata.

The company which is based out of Mumbai has raised Rs 6.25 crore from Tata and Anandan in first round of seed funding. In tandem with CSIR, it will grow cannabis in Jammu & Kasmir. The companies plan to study and later find out in what way the hemp will be useful for treatment of epilepsy, breast cancer and palliative care.

“We already have our first batch of cannabis plants cultivated in Jammu, within the CSIR framework," Avnish Pandya, co-founder of Boheco, has been quoted in the ET report. Interestingly, in its initial years of being set up, Boheco sold clothing and nutritional foods.

The company further says it will use the proceeds from the recent seed funding for hiring scientists from India as well as foreign nations. For that purpose, The Netherlands has already been in its crosshairs.

All the products that the company will come up in near future will be in sync with India’s regulatory framework governing use of cannabis particularly for medical purposes. Pandya adds the first product that will come to the market will be for palliative care. A palliative care is extended to people with serious illness and that also focuses on providing relief from symptoms.

Cannabis use in India

Cannabis was legally sold in India until 1985 mainly for recreational use. In the early 1960, the United States had started a massive campaign against use of all drugs for non-medical purposes. India had at that time opposed the drive but changed its stance later. In 1985, the Rajiv Gandhi government enacted the strict Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances popularly known as NDPS Act. This act bans carrying, consumption of narcotic drugs of all kinds.


Updated Date: Dec 21, 2017 14:19 PM

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