Can You Trademark Cannabis Business in India?

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The Cannabis industry, for purposes like medicine and recreation, has been gaining immense popularity. In fact, it is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The global market for medical cannabis has been growing fast, with focus on research on the medical properties of cannabis and embracing and developing new technology of its cultivation and extraction. Research around this field has actively revolved around understanding the medical and beneficial properties of CBD, the non-psychoactive section of the plant. Currently, the most commonly used method to gauge the safety and efficiency of this up and coming drug is through clinical trials. It is necessary since one of the biggest barriers to exploring the effectiveness of CBD as a medicine is its lack of clinical trials.
India has a relationship with cannabis that has existed for a prolonged period of time. Early texts like that of the Vedas have references to these plants and their uses. However, despite the historical tie up that India has with cannabis, it is currently illegal to possess to make use of in India. This only exception to this is areas which are government authorized premises and produce or sell bhaang or allow research and medical use of it. One of the few places in India which allows for clinical trials of the use of CBD is the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, which is backed by the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. However, even their regulatory approval for clinical trials is still underway.
Over the years, India has seen a lot of promising start-ups within the cannabis industry come into the market. These starts-ups usually focus on medicine, cosmetics, textiles, accessories and foods. However, Cannabis is largely misunderstood in India from a legal and industrial viewpoint. According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, both trade and consumption of cannabis of any form is illegal and one could be imprisoned for the same for 20 years. The only control over the production and research surrounding the cannabis industry is completely within the hands of the state government. This can be seen in regions of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, wherein the states have received license for hemp production. This implies that it isn’t possible for a cannabis business in India to get a trademark in India. The cannabis industry is completely controlled by the government and any other options within the industry and strictly banned and illegal in India.

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