High and wild—that is how the cannabis plant has grown in India. But, its uses have not been restricted to those two words.

Though many farmers in the upper Himalayan reaches have grown the weed for its recreational use, women of Shauka and Kuthalia Bora tribes in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon, Pithoragarh and Almora districts have been planting cannabis for its fibre and medicinal properties. Today, women in the state are cultivating cannabis as part of Uttarakhand’s industrial hemp cultivation promotion policy.

Uttarakhand was among the first states in India to formulate an industrial hemp policy, which has empowered scores of women self-help groups (SHGs) and opened up several research possibilities. Take, for instance, the Mandakini Women Weavers based in Garhwal. Women here produce hemp yarn; the

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