Everyone in Kumaon grows hemp traditionally for different uses viz. making bhaang chutney, using its oil, making its subzi, etc. People have also used its fiber for making ropes used for tying animals, weaving hats in winters, and so much more.
All the farmers grow it during the season for personal consumption. The extra is sold off in the mandi. The 'bhaang chutney' adds flavour to meals especially during the winters when it is consumed. The tacit knowledge of local people acknowledges hemp seeds to be food for winters, providing innate warmth to the body. Many locals use hemp oil for massage during the winters.
Hemp seeds have no THC, i.e. they don't have psychoactive compound. What people of the mountains have always been using, having the traditional knowledge, is now backed by scientific know-how.
Now the industrialists coming in having recognized the potential of one crop, the local resources, and knowledge is endangered. Kumaon Khand believes in production by masses and not mass production. Our roots make us work with the community, which I fear is not the case with industrialists and bigger companies. The cannabis crop is not maligned in the mountains, rather the intentions of outsides may be.
Kumaon Khand wants to set up an example by working with the community. We have collaborated with farmer groups, SHGs, and entities in Kumaon to create a sustainable enterprise.