Image courtesy: Verve Magazine

For me, Cannabis and BOHECO stand collectively for all that we seek to become—as a person, as a community and as the world. Let me clarify this with the following personification. In both, I see someone who is on the path to substantially improving people’s lives by introducing environmentally safe products and providing livelihood to those who have been replenishing our food baskets-- our beloved farmer brothers and sisters.

The person on this path is kind-hearted, patient and generous with knowledge, happy to stop and share it.

However, many people have a different view of this person, a vision which is confined to that of a wastrel. Ambling aimlessly and creating a nuisance.

Through my essay, I hope to show you what a far cry from “wastrel” this person, more accurately Cannabis, is.

Step one: unlearn what you know about cannabis.

Step two: read on.

We have been blessed with a wondrous crop. It can give us clothing, paper, biofuel and lubricants, therapeutic and cosmetic material, food, building material, automobile parts, and more. Industrial hemp is low on THC (the property that makes it suitable for recreational and medicinal purposes) and high on fibre. Mercedes and BMW, the automotive giants, use hemp fibre composites for door panels and their dashboards. If we look further into the global arena, we find that China is the largest exporter of hemp textiles, Romania is the largest commercial producer of hemp in Europe, Austria has a hemp industry including production of hemp seed oil. It is evident that they’ve realized the adage that Hemp is a ‘gift that keeps giving’.

When the applications of this marvellous crop are endless, one cannot help but have an optimistic outlook for what the future holds in store. However, realizing is not enough. Action must be taken for the crop to reach its potential-- to be used by every household for anything under the roof. The different applications and the mere fact that cannabis is in its infancy in many of its applications makes cannabis very exciting.

Another satisfying aspect of cannabis is that one embarks on a journey of constant learning about this crop. And that very journey led me to BOHECO.

From my very first day at Bombay Hemp Company, I felt like I was part of the larger group of Cannabis farmers. It wasn’t me, you, or them. It was “us”, from day one.

The office sends out a very fresh vibe as soon as you enter it, and from then our day starts (I did not mention working-day on purpose, since it never feels like work. It feels like our life’s purpose to do this). The freshness doesn’t come from the salad-coloured logo I am referring to; I am referring to both the tangible and intangible aspects. First, the meeting rooms have names, such as ‘Sativa’ and ‘Indica’, both being species of the cannabis plant. This ensures that the minds behind BOHECO are aligned with the goal of bringing this wonderful crop to the masses.

BOHECO gives me the feeling that nothing is impossible and it fills me with positivity. At the same time, there are significant challenges that lie ahead.

There’s so much to be done and accomplished in the cannabis domain. At BOHECO, we sincerely believe that R&D make the backbone of our foundation. Without research and compliance with the government and authorities, we cannot proceed to develop products. Since ‘India’s first cannabis company’ is research driven, we are compelled to pro-actively think about the role of cannabis in society underpinned by science, which provides validation to the path BOHECO has embarked on.

Most of the work revolves around bringing cannabis to the next level. Therefore, we have various meetings throughout the day. Most of these are with kind people who see value in what BOHECO does and then there are meetings that are conducted amongst ourselves, since we operate in mini-teams (you may perceive them as a mini task force). The mere fact that this is a new space ensures that no single day is alike. That does not imply that we ‘just do things’. We certainly have timelines we work with and deadlines to abide by. The fact that we look into multiple domains makes the journey ahead all the more interesting.

We ensure that our work is divided in building blocks so that our minds do not get burdened with the monstrosity of the pile of work that awaits us. We diligently work through those building blocks and in the meantime, it gives us a realistic and holistic view of what we are attempting to achieve.

Before we even realize, the sun has set hours ago, and we decide to allocate time to family and friends. But we shall meet tomorrow, fresh and filled with positivity to take on existing and new challenges!