When you think about cannabis, what’s the first thing that springs to mind? To many, it would represent a ‘drug’ that is not only illegal, but also linked to parties and addiction.

Avnish Pandya, Chirag Tekchandaney, Delzaad Deolaliwala, Jahan Peston Jamas, Sumit Shah, and Yash P Kotak got together to make cannabis cool again, caught between the medical and contraband storylines. They claim that “from the most misunderstood substance, we can manufacture clothes, cosmetic goods, building material, and much more.” This is what their company, BOHECO (Bombay Hemp Company), intends to achieve.

During their travels, the founders discovered that the cannabis plant was prevalent everywhere across the country, regardless of state or district. Cannabis grows organically in various Indian terrains, according to the creators.

Jahan was visiting his extended family in Australia in the summer of 2013, when he came upon hemp in the Australian outbacks. Jahan recounted his experiences with the founders, amused by how the rural villages had effectively exploited the power of the hemp plant to manufacture and sell industrial and medicinal items (clothing, construction material, nutritious meals, etc.). The founders’ curiosity was sparked by these two incidents, and they began researching cannabis as a company – the legislative environment, research fields, and commercial market potential in India.

The six of them set out on a mission to discover a solution that would help the agricultural and local industries, leading to the formation of Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO).

The absence of conventional cannabis varieties or seeds to plant in India, according to Chirag Tekchandaney, Co-Founder and Director of Marketing, was the second hurdle. The lack of standard extracts makes it difficult to produce medications of uniform quality.

BOHECO was not willing to wait and worked on research initiatives with government CSIR laboratories to develop standard cannabis cultivars.

Once the study is completed, BOHECO OHECO plans to support local farmers in producing the crop by giving optimal seeds.

The creation of awareness is the other most critical factor. According to Tekchandaney, the firm spends around half of its time establishing ecosystems and advocating for the benefits of industrial hemp to society.

On Tuesday, Bombay Hemp Company Pvt. Ltd (BOHECO), a Mumbai-based cannabis-focused medical research firm, said that it has secured $2 million (about Rs 14.8 crore) from the Vi-John Group’s Achin Kochar and RRB Energy Ltd’s Riteesh Mohan Bakshi and Raghav Mohan Bakshi’s family offices.

Prior to this fundraising round, Bombay Hemp had completed a $ 750,000 pre-Series-A round with Arphi Electronics, AngelList Trust, and Adept Ventures’ Prakhar Agarwal. BOHECO has already raised $2.33 million in prior rounds (around Rs 17.4 crore).

BOHECO plans to utilise the funds to strengthen manufacturing/production, quality control, omnichannel distribution capabilities, and customer acquisition, according to the company. BOHECO Life, a direct-to-consumer health, wellness, and nutrition brand, will also be rapidly expanded.