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FSSAI on Hemp Products: Obtaining a Hemp License in Uttarakhand

June 14, 2022

Learn about the FSSAI standards for Hemp products, difference between Hemp and Marijuana and process to obtain Hemp cultivation license.

The hemp industry in India is worth USD 2-3 million, with a predicted growth to USD 500-700 million over the next few years. However, Uttarakhand is the first and only state in India to permit commercial cultivation of industrial hemp. Legalized hemp farming is supposed to start soon in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan as well, but at present, Uttarakhand remains the sole local supplier.

The hemp business blossomed during COVID 19 lockdown. There are about 100 hemp start-ups in India. The recent Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notification that says that hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour can be sold as food or as an ingredient for food is a welcome move considering that the global legal cannabis market was valued at USD 12.8 bn in 2021 and is projected to reach a value of USD 48.3 bn by 2028 (at a CAGR of 24.80% over the forecast period). The FSSAI notification will definitely provide a boost to hemp farming in India.

What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are naturally present as chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Both Hemp and Marijuana are the same species, but Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight) and Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC (by dry weight).

2022 FSSAI notified standards about Hemp products

The Gazette of India with this notification clarifies all the standards and details about hemp seeds and their ailed products. Detailed specifications are as follows:

  • Hemp seed products should not have the image of any part of the cannabis plant nor the words ‘marijuana’.
  • Total THC content in any hemp food product for sale shouldn’t exceed 5 mg/kg.
  • CBD in any hemp seed or its respective food products should be 75 mg/kg.
  • Total THC should not be more than 0.2mg/kg in any hemp seeds beverages.
  • Hemp seed products shouldn’t be labelled as containing CBD nor as a health product containing CBD.
  • Hemp seed products shouldn’t be labelled as a nutrient or health product containing psychoactive effects.
  • Illegal to manufacture, sale or import any hemp seed product with the intention of administering it to child up to the age of 24 months.

How is Hemp used?

  • It can be used as food products or ingredient in food.
  • Hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour have medicinal value. They are used in products to boost heart health, good skin, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy pregnancy, and relieve pain.
  • It has also yielded positive results in the treatment of cancer.
  • It is one of the strongest natural fibres in the world, known to have over 50,000 different uses.
  • It can be used in shampoos, cosmetics, lotions, balms, soaps, etc.
  • It can be used in the production of textiles (clothes, shoes, diapers, handbags, etc.) and commercial textiles (rope, netting, canvas, etc.).
  • It can be used in the production of paper (packaging, cardboard, etc.), and building materials (fiberglass substitute, acrylics, oil paints, varnishes, etc.).

Uttarakhand: Only Indian state for legalized Hemp cultivation

Uttarakhand became the first Indian state to legalize hemp farming in July 2018 and is now, naturally, the largest hemp producing state in the country. The Government of Uttarakhand supports several Self Help Groups and farmer groups under a Purchasing Power Parity model, aimed at advancing the size and scope of the Hemp industry.

Documents required for acquiring Hemp License in Uttarakhand

  1. Application must be submitted to the District Magistrate.
  2. Application form must be submitted with a land ownership proof.
  3. A ‘good character certificate’ of the owner is to be submitted.
  4. Document clearly stating the location for hemp cultivation.
  5. Proof of the contract to be submitted if any has been signed with a commercial unit.
  6. Documented proof about the storage facility for such produce as may be cultivated.
  7. Assurance certificate to show that no other license has been granted or applied for.
  8. Final decision lies with the District Magistrate regarding the approval or disapproval of the application.
Note: The cultivated hemp can only be sold to authorized buyers by the Government of Uttarakhand.

Eligibility for application

  • Land must be self-owned.
  • There should be no bailable or criminal case pending in any court of law.
  • Any commercial or medical institute that owns the land can apply.

Forms required for Hemp cultivation in Uttarakhand

Form Description
IHC – A1 To apply for the license.
IHC – A2 For assurance of mass storage and use.
IHC – 1 Format of license to be issued to famers dealing in industrial hemp.
IHC – 2 Format of license to be issued to farmers for storage, use and sale of industrial hemp.
IHC – 3 Format of license for storage and use of industrial hemp. Applicable to industrial units only.
IHC – 4 License for transportation of industrial hemp. Applicable to industrial units only.

Shortlisted districts for Hemp cultivation in Uttarakhand

  • Chamoli
  • Nainital
  • Pauri Garhwal
  • Almora Bageshwar
  • Champawat
  • Tehri Garhwal
  • Pithoragarh
  • UttarkashiGairsain
  • Badrinath
  • Joshimath

Global market for Hemp

  • USA, Canada and Mexico make up the world’s largest continental cannabis market, worth USD 18.1 billion in 2020. In fact, North America is a huge market for Indian hemp.
  • An estimated 64 million US adults had tried CBD in the previous two years to relax and reduce stress/anxiety. The USA, therefore, is a potentially huge market for Indian hemp medicinal products.
  • The global hemp seeds market size was valued at USD 710.7 Mn in 2019, with a projected reach to USD 1,634.6 Mn by 2027, with the European market leading the way.
  • Malta became the first European country to fully legalize recreational cannabis. Three other countries have also started the process towards legalization and a number of other countries are expected to fully legalize in the next few years: Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
  • The Asia-Pacific CBD oil market was valued at USD 173.36 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 1755.34 million by 2029.
  • Thus, in this scenario, the recent FSSAI notification means good news for the Indian Hemp industry.

If you want us to assist you with license and other legal procedures for hemp cultivation in India, you can write to us at

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