Podcast

Hemp Jeans From Wild Himalayan Hemp, With Shreyans Kokra of CanvaLoop

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The Ministry of Hemp Podcast
Hemp Jeans From Wild Himalayan Hemp, With Shreyans Kokra of CanvaLoop
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Some sustainable hemp jeans could hit the market soon, if a fiber company based in India gets their way.

In Episode 65 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast our host Matt sits down with Shreyans Kokra the CEO of CanvaLoop, an Indian based hemp fiber company, to discuss their new ‘SLOW’ brand hemp jeans Kickstarter. CanvaLoop is using a proprietary process to make high-quality hemp jeans with the same feel as cotton-based denim. Unlike regular jeans, Slow Jeans are made from carbon negative Himalayan hemp harvested by locals.

Himalayan hemp is a cannabis plant growing in the wild, in the majestic and pristine Himalayan ranges of India and Nepal. It has been growing with ‘zero’ human input for over 5000 years — that means it needs no water (except natural rainfall), fertilizers or insecticides. The seeds are also not sowed by man but by nature itself — twice every year. It takes only 90 days to grow and also replenishes the soil it grows in.

In addition, hemp fabric itself offers a number of benefits over cotton fabrics in terms of sustainability, durability, natural antibacterial properties and more. India is quickly distinguishing itself as a leading creator of hemp textiles.

About Shreyans Kokra and CanvaLoop

In 2016, Shreyans Kokra (Founder and CEO of CanvaLoop), set out on a journey to make a truly sustainable fashion material that has all the performance features that a modern human wants. This quest led him to Himalayan Hemp and the current Slow hemp jeans Kickstarter campaign. If funded, SLOW hemp jeans will be available in three classic colors: Black, Indigo and Sky in various fits.

CanvaLoop is an alternative fibers and material science company. They make textile fibers from agri-waste or plants like hemp and banana. Their fibers are eco-friendly, ethically produced and functionally superior. Their mission is to mainstream sustainability by creating alternative fibers.

You’ve got hemp questions? We’ve got hemp answers!

Send us your hemp questions and you might hear them answered on one of our Hemp Q&A episodes. Send your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, matt@ministryofhemp.com, or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind, this phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for the Ministry of Hemp should be sent to info@ministryofhemp.com

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In a composite photo, at left a person in a white t-shirt poses in pale blue 'Slow' brand hemp jeans, seen from behind with a hemp leaf in the back pocket. To the right half of the picture, a photo of Shreyans Kokra smiling in a white button down t-shirt.
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CanvaLoop recently launched a Kickstarter for their new ‘SLOW’ brand hemp jeans. At right, CanvaLoop founder Shreyans Kokra.

Sustainable ‘Slow’ hemp jeans, with CanvaLoop: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 65 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “Sustainable ‘Slow’ Hemp Jeans”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum, and this is the Ministry of Hemp podcast, brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education.

Matt Baum:
Welcome back to another episode of the Ministry of Hemp podcast. My name’s Matt, I’m your host. I have talked to a lot of people on this show and learned a ton about hemp, but I don’t think I’ve ever spoken with anyone from India. I almost lined up an interview with some people that were running an Indian hemp conference a while ago, but it fell through due to time constraints. This week, I’m changing that. I have a conversation for you to hear with Shreyans Kokra. He’s the CEO of Canvaloop. Canvaloop is working on bringing hemp jeans to the public. They look just like regular jeans, they feel just like regular jeans, but they are much more ecologically friendly, not in just the way that they’re made, but also when you wash them, and you’re not going to believe where they’re getting the hemp.

Matt Baum:
The Canvaloop process is one of the most carbon negative processes. Not carbon neutral, but carbon negative, and you’ll hear why, that I have ever heard of. It’s incredible what they are doing, and they have a Kickstarter that’s running right now to get their jeans to the public. There’ll be a link for that in the show notes, and I hope you’re going to go and back it, after you hear my conversation with Shreyans Kokra of Canvaloop.

Harvesting wild Himalayan hemp

Shreyans Kokra:
Hi, I am here today primarily because we launched an awesome Kickstarter campaign, called Slow by Canvaloop, which is jeans made out of wild-growing cannabis in the Himalayas.

Matt Baum:
So let’s start there. We noticed you because of the Kickstarter. At Ministry of Hemp, we’re always looking for cool stuff like this. Where are you guys centered out of?

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah. So we are based out of India.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Shreyans Kokra:
Currently I’m in Surat, Gujarat, which is the Westernmost part of the country.

Matt Baum:
Okay. You are using Himalayan hemp to spin it into a cotton and then make denim jeans, basically. So tell me about Himalayan hemp, because I watched the video and it blew my mind. Tell me a little bit about Himalayan hemp first.

Shreyans Kokra:
Basically, it’s the wild cannabis that grows throughout the mountainous regions of the Himalayas, so when you probably reach there, all the lower and the middle part of Himalayan are full of the wild cannabis that grows there and it is brought up the own lip line in which you have very good quality flood, which is generally used by people as marijuana and also a very, very good quality fiber. So, that is what we found. And it has no known genetics. It grows absolutely in the wild with zero human interference. It just grows when we harvest in three months after you go to the same place, it’s dead at the same height, yielding the same quality of materials. So it’s like nature’s biggest gift to the planet. Every 90 days, you have some amazing things growing and you can just go and collect it.

Matt Baum:
This is not farmed. This is truly wild. Himalayan hemp, like pine nuts. Basically, you don’t grow them on a farm. You just go get it.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes, exactly.

Matt Baum:
Does this land belong to anyone? Or are you allowed to just go take it?

Shreyans Kokra:
So we need permissions from the forest officials…

Matt Baum:
Right.

Shreyans Kokra:
To go and collect it. But since hemp again is such a renewable resource. Within 90 days it grows back to it’s same height and the same….

Matt Baum:
Right.

Shreyans Kokra:
So that forest officials have also started to allow it in the past two, three years, we follow a lot of guidelines. With regards to how much can we harvest? How do we harvest? Especially keeping like the areas has zero infrastructure. And it’s by design that the infrastructure is kept to a minimum because we want nature to survive as it is.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Shreyans Kokra:
So we take a lot of precautions while exercising the extraction, the harvesting, and we follow a lot of guidelines as well. So yes.

Matt Baum:
So it’s carbon zero, like carbon negative essentially because you’re not farming anything. You guys are literally going and picking a weed.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes, exactly.

Matt Baum:
That’s just amazing. Tell me about that though. You said it, there’s not a lot of infrastructure. So how do you get there? Are you like rolling in, on a dirt road, basically into just a forest?

Shreyans Kokra:
So let’s imagine that there are small villages all across the mountain region. And villages are like 10, 15, 20 houses.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Shreyans Kokra:
And so the villagers initially used to only collect the seeds. And sell them in the cities for making a small amount of living. So we basically taught them that fiber is something which is also a very, very useful part of the plant.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Shreyans Kokra:
Right. And there are ways to harvest and extract the fiber. So we have trained them with the help of some NGOs on the ground. And literally from each village, you get like a hundred kilo or 200 kgs of fiber. And a track goes down, keeps on collecting it from the villages. Some of it comes on a donkey bags. Some of it comes by…

Matt Baum:
This is so bad. [crosstalk 00:05:53] I don’t mean to like… [crosstalk 00:05:59] I don’t mean to like be so mind blown by it. But there just isn’t anything like this in the United States where we’ve been sweet enough to work with local people and not exploit them and not coming in clear cut, therefore for us to hear that you’re going into these smaller areas and working with the people that live there and giving them income as well. I mean, you’re paying them to go out and gather this, right?

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah. So we actually get a lot of support from the ground because this prevents migration of people from the villages to the cities, which is a big problem in the villages, because there is actually no infrastructure. There are no industries. Then there are no employment opportunities, but this gives them a way to get employed throughout the year without leaving their birthplace place. So this is something that they’re getting a lot of ground support on.

Matt Baum:
And they’re the experts too. They know exactly where it is. They know exactly where to go get it, let them do the work with their expertise.

Shreyans Kokra:
Exactly, exactly.

Creating hemp jeans with CanvaLoop

Matt Baum:
It’s amazing. So you show up, you pick up the hemp from there, you drive it back into town. Tell me about the process now from turning hemp fiber, I’ve always known that hemp fiber can be made into fabric obviously, but jeans, that seems like pretty next level. Can you take me through sort of a broad scope of the process of what happens?

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah. So basically the parent company Canvaloop, we have a proprietary technique, it’s patent pending by which we convert any sort of a hemp fiber for a plant, a stock part of the plant to a garden light fiber. While retaining the properties of hemp. So the hemp fiber is some amazing deal. Like it being anti UV naturally, anti-microbial all of these properties by [inaudible 00:07:53] we make sure that the amazing properties of hemp stay and hemp gets converted to a very soft fiber. And this is what we have been doing for the past couple of years. But then we thought that there is a gap, we must do something that the consumer actually sees and wants. We understand that a lot of people want to wear hemp clothing, but it’s not available. So that’s why we worked for it, on it for a couple of years, since 2019, we have been working on this project.

Shreyans Kokra:
And so we have kept a lot of thought on sustainability in hemp, throughout the jeans making process. So the way we convert the stock into fiber, again, 100% green be used compressed natural gas instead of coal, which is generally used in the fashion industry for heating [inaudible 00:08:47]. So all the little things that couldn’t be taken care of. Again, right. We have used natural Indigo dyes. So dyes actually gotten from the Indigo flat. So that’s why jeans are called in the indigo. Because jeans technically used to have natural Indigo dyes in the past two, three decades that we are seeing all artificial dyes, which…

Matt Baum:
yeah.

Shreyans Kokra:
Look up river systems and everything. So throughout the process of making the jeans, we have kept sustainability in hemp at the core. So from making the fiber to the thread and then making the final denim, we have kept sustainability in hemp. And yes, it’s a beautiful piece of denim. We have tried to make it as soft as possible. And a lot of tests have been done. We have washed it off 500 times. It stays as it is because of the great durability properties of hemp.

Matt Baum:
So it’s not going to fade like my other jeans and whatnot?

Shreyans Kokra:
It is not because it uses natural Indigo dyes. And then hemp. Hemp is the strongest natural fiber. So we, as an industry have to use hemp’s properties to make products that reflect its true nature.

Matt Baum:
Right. It’s not a matter of turning hemp into something else it’s using hemp to get a final product that you want with the benefits of the hemp fiber itself more…

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes. Exactly. Yes.

The benefits of fabric made from hemp fiber

Matt Baum:
So tell me about that. Let’s talk about the fiber for a second. Because I watched the video and the jeans look amazing, looking at them. I can’t tell any difference. Visually. You said hemp is a very strong fiber and it’s hard to work with and you have a proprietary process to turn it into something that looked like cotton, but it’s not cotton. It’s still hemp.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
So how does it perform differently when you make it into a denim than say, I am wearing a pair of jeans right now, a pair of raw denim jeans that I paid 75 bucks for, which is a steal for raw denim. That’s pretty cheap. And guess what? A year and a half later, I’ll be real honest with you, there’s a split in the crotch. You can’t see it. Cause I’m at home by myself. So it’s fine right now. But these are $75 raw denim jeans that are supposed to be tougher than normal denim. And they were also made, like you said, there, they were made more responsibly, whatnot. They’re garbage. So explain it like these hemp jeans. How does it stack up to something like raw denim and what are the differences, I guess, similarities and differences I suppose.

Shreyans Kokra:
So similarity, we have worked a lot to not change the feel of the denim. Because we have been wearing denims for so long and they suddenly may give you a very different feeling denim, you will not want to wear it.

Matt Baum:
They will say these aren’t jeans.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah. These aren’t jeans today. So we have consciously tried to make the feel of the jeans right how it’s worn as similar to cotton like your normal jeans as possible, like a premium from jeans as possible. The major differences that lie are on the way you can bear the jeans. So jeans are technically made to be worn for longer periods of time without being washed. But the problem with modern jeans nowadays is with a lot of say things coming up in the past few years, you cannot wear them multiple times.

Shreyans Kokra:
They start smelling or they’re sweaty, they’re sticky all of those problems. So, because hemp has a very… Sorry for being a little technically, but yeah, as a very porous, but again, say cross-section, it’s very breathable. So you’ll sweat significantly less. And also it’s naturally anti-microbial. So since there is no bacterial activity, the jeans not get smelly. So again, probably wear them for longer periods of time without actually washing them.

Matt Baum:
So these are jeans that I can wear during the summer is what you’re saying.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes. Summer as well as winter again, because it’s porous, they’ll keep you warmer in the winters and cooler in the summers. So again, these are all amazing properties of hemp that we’re just trying to reflect on the product rate. Hemp is what takes the credit over here. So that is how it’s different. Because of the amazingness of the plant, the variability of the jeans is amazingly better than what you can expect from a normal cotton.

Matt Baum:
So more durable, it’s more porous, so it’s breathable. So it’s, cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, which is good for guys like me. Cause I’ve chicken legs. And I don’t like wearing shorts. I want to wear jeans all summer. And also it’s UV resistant you said.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
That’s a natural Part of the hemp fiber is UV resistant.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
Wow. So it’s not going to fade.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah, it’s not going to fade. So it is eventually going to fade like probably after 10 or 15 years, but not when you’re going to wear it for sure.

Matt Baum:
So what about construction? As far as, as sewing it, is it harder to work with than working with denim?

Shreyans Kokra:
It is definitely harder to work with. Especially when we get to the machines, because most of the modern machines are either made for synthetic fibers or cotton. So it’s significantly harder to work with and there are specialized skills required. So not your everyday jeans maker can make a hemp jeans. So, and hemp jeans, there are some jeans on the market which have like a certain percentage of hemp in the denim.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Shreyans Kokra:
But they are not hemp rate. By hemp rate I mean like at least 50% of the fabric should be hemp.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Shreyans Kokra:
Then [inaudible 00:14:49] something made out of hemp. So it’s significantly difficult, but we are getting there. So either could be believe that within a few years within say the next decade hemp is going to be a norm of the fashion industry.

Matt Baum:
Absolutely.

Shreyans Kokra:
So everything will revolve around hemp. It’ll go, it’ll be the next big material. So yes, we are trying to make it happen.

Matt Baum:
So did you guys have to make new machines to work with this because they’re not out there right now. Right? I mean sewing machines and whatnot, and the looms that bring this hemp fabric that you can’t just run this through a normal loom and make the same type of cotton. Can you?

Shreyans Kokra:
So again, the fiber that we make, since we’ve [inaudible 00:15:37] so like cotton. It runs on the regular loom with special assistance. So with some modifications and some special assistance, that’s not your everyday person can done it, but someone who’s trained to run something like this, then definitely run it on the regular machine. So that is the basic. But for us that we are trying to solve to make the adoption of hemp as easy as possible for mainstream fashioning vans as well. Every one on the planet should start using hemp.

The sustainable benefits of hemp jeans

Matt Baum:
I totally agree. That’s why I host this podcast. Now you have a proprietary process that breaks it down into that fabric, more, not the fabric, but the thread, the fiber, if you will, at that point, you’re saying once it’s there, you could ship it into any place that deals with fiber and they can work with it pretty much the same way.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes, exactly.

Matt Baum:
That’s incredible. One of the other things I saw, it takes 7,600 liters of consumed water to make regular denim jeans. And that’s for Americans, that’s over 2000 gallons of water. And 1900 pieces of micro plastics are released into the oceans with every wash. Why are micro plastics coming out of my jeans? I had no idea.

Shreyans Kokra:
So, so a lot of jeans nowadays have a certain percentage of polyester or say like in a [crosstalk 00:17:11].

Matt Baum:
To make it stretchier and more comfortable and…

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah stretchier and a lot of jeans that you see on the market claim to be more durable. Actually use polyester, which every time you wash like a piece as each piece of this cloth, it releases micro plastics in the water.

Matt Baum:
That makes sense.

Shreyans Kokra:
So, and a lot of again, jeans are nowadays branding themselves as made out of plastic bottles, recycled plastic bottles. But that’s again, not so good for the environment. Because on one hand, you’re recycling the plastic bottle but again from the fabric that is made mainly you’re releasing micro plastics in the world. So it’s like dying by one goal. You’re dying by a… [crosstalk 00:00:17:59]

Matt Baum:
Yeah. It’s death by a plastic bottle or death by a million pieces of tiny micro plastic.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
So tell me about the water consumption. How does that work? Like slow jeans, obviously, according to what I’m reading here use quite a bit less water. How does that work out?

Shreyans Kokra:
So again, it’s so hemp, as I said, requires no sort of artificial water irrigation to grow. It grows on the lane rainfall that happens or from the ground water.

Matt Baum:
Because again this is not farmed. You’re just going and picking this…

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes. Exactly. And the cotton that is used to make denims, it requires a tremendous amount of water to grow. So one kg of cotton requires approximately 10,000 liters of water.

Matt Baum:
Jesus.

Shreyans Kokra:
And that’s literally just two pieces of jeans. So, and again, throughout the processing, the dying process of the jeans and all of those processes also, there’s a lot of water required and we have, we allow, so we make denims in mills that use completely recycled water. So they recycle their own water. They do not take any new water.

Matt Baum:
So it’s like gray water system.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes, yes. Right. And again, the plant did not require any water to grow. So throughout the whole value chain, we are saving tremendous amount of water.

Matt Baum:
That’s incredible.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah. So that is what we wanted to emphasize in the campaign as well, because a lot of people are not aware about the water footprint of that clothing.

Matt Baum:
Right. So let’s talk about…

Shreyans Kokra:
It may be. So by the way, yes.

SLOW hemp jeans on Kickstarter

Matt Baum:
Let’s talk about the campaign for a second. Tell me about the Kickstarter, what you guys have going on. I’ll have a link to the Kickstarter, of course, in the show notes. So people can go throw many of this because we all need to be wearing hemp jeans. And by the way, these are not like boxy farmer looking jeans. These are sexy. These are really good. Do you come from some type of fashion background or anything? We’ll talk about you in a minute I guess. Let’s talk about this, the Kickstarter first. Then I want to talk about you where you came from and how you got this idea. Because I think it’s amazing. So tell me about the Kickstarter.

Shreyans Kokra:
So we presenting slow jeans. These are jeans completely made out of the vial growing Himalayan hemp, and it’s processed in the most sustainable manner possible. And the final output, the jeans better than the normal jeans that we wear, cotton jeans. It’s available in trees, timeless colors like sky, which is like a light blue color, Indigo, which is like a dark blue color and the classic black….

Matt Baum:
Right Very classic American denim jean [inaudible 00:20:52].

Shreyans Kokra:
And all the fits. Right? So if you want a regular fit or a slim fit or a skinny fit. So most of it’s a perception that hemp is a loose that grandpa kind of a thing… [crosstalk 00:21:06]

Matt Baum:
See the hippie and the pajamas with like the poncho on, like I’m wearing clothes bro!

Shreyans Kokra:
So this is like your regular, this is jeans that you can wear to the biggest party in town and people will ask this jeans, what is this jeans? So all the fits, all the colors are there. And I just want to say it out loud that there are two things with it. First it’s made of the wild Himalayan hemp and second it’s insanely comfortable.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Shreyans Kokra:
So this is what we have emphasized on. We did not want to give a product that did not feel good. Not just want to sell hemp because of just it being hemp. We wanted to make a very good usable piece of product. And once you have it, you’ll see the difference for sure.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. It’s definitely jeans, I think are an intensely American institution where everybody wears jeans. It’s just something that like for, I mean, Cowboys wore jeans back in the days, its crazy jeans are something that we go to work in jeans, jeans are something that I mow the lawn in, jeans are something I can take a nap in. So if these are going to be hemp jeans, I’ve got to be jeans. They’ve got to be comfortable. They’ve got to look right. They’ve got to feel right. It’s not like you’re just showing up with hemp pants. So tell me about you. How did you get into this? What is your background?

Shreyans Kokra:
So I’m personally trained in finance. So, but I have a family history in textiles and fashion. So my family has been in the fashion textile industries for 40 years and I wanted to get away from it all. And that’s why I came to the US with a finance background. But then again, I got in touch with hemp and just realized it’s awesome potential. And the actual problem that the textile industry had, I was always aware of that. Right. But I did not really have a solution in mind, but when I got in touch with hemp then its awesome benefits. We were damn sure that this is something that needs to be presented to the normal public. And…

Matt Baum:
Absolutely.

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes. The four years back, we started on from scratch, literally from scratch, working with the plant. And how do we convert it into the best possible fabric for the people?

Matt Baum:
What was it that brought you to hemp? Did you discover it?

Shreyans Kokra:
So when I came to the US a couple of people mentioned it to me. And I’m a very inclusive, curious, kind of a person. So I just go out into it, started reading about it. And interestingly, I was doing a master’s in entrepreneurship.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Shreyans Kokra:
And we had to pitch an idea to work on throughout the year during the course. So this was my master hemp was by all about the masters.

From US college entrepreneur to Himalayan hemp

Matt Baum:
You’re the second person I’ve talked to that did this as their master. They’re like, I was in grad school and I came up with this crazy hemp idea. And they were like, write the paper about it? And now it’s my job.

Shreyans Kokra:
So we started, so during the college itself, you are a group of people. We started a company there in Boston itself. Over the time we did not work out. It was still hemp. We stuck on it. We pivoted a lot of time. And then we finally had this breakthrough with the technology. And today here we are with the jeans.

Matt Baum:
Well, just the kind of thing where you were in the States and you got interested in hemp and decided, okay, my family is from a fiber background. Was there this moment where you just went, Oh my God, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of this stuff back in the Himalayas. I got to go home and use this. Was it just something like that?

Shreyans Kokra:
Yeah, I think, I think you pictured it perfectly. This is exactly what happened. So…

Matt Baum:
I mean that’s [crosstalk 00:25:26] that’s incredible.

Shreyans Kokra:
[inaudible 00:25:25] The United States, a lot of incidentally [inaudible 00:25:34] 16, when I was in the States, the whole movement to legalize hemp and the separation of hemp from Atlanta was going on. Especially in the Boston area. So that movement actually was like a kickstart that we got. And coupled with my textile background back home. Right. Because we also need some sort of an expertise in the product. This is what I also firmly believe, like build the traditional sort of industries get into hemp. It’s not going to go very, very mainstream. So like [inaudible 00:26:11] starts making, say probably some sort of edited drinks with hemp. [crosstalk 00:00:26:16] yeah. So I think they did really good times ahead. So

Matt Baum:
So you, you came to the States and you got your finance degree, and then you were like, Oh, Oh crap. I’ve got to go home. That’s where the action is. You come home with this idea and you come to your family and like, hear me out, hemp jeans, who’s on board? Were they like, yeah. Let’s Absolutely. Let’s pull the trigger over there, like, son, you’re insane. What happened to you in America? How do you pitch an idea like that? Because I’m guessing you’re, and I don’t know, but I’m guessing your family’s textile business was not going out into the woods and finding plants to make clothes out of, how do you pitch that to mom and dad? And were they just on board?

Shreyans Kokra:
So my dad was on board right away, he is like very open. Yeah. So he’s very open. He’s like this, these are your years to experiment in life. And so you can go ahead, you are not making a fool of yourself, then go ahead, try as many things as you want.

Matt Baum:
That’s awesome.

Shreyans Kokra:
But again, since in India we have sort of an extended family system. And there were a lot of people who are not very keen on letting this happen, because there are a lot of regulatory issues in India. And also in the States it’s everywhere…

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Shreyans Kokra:
Just cannot deny it. It’s significantly harder for a person to do business in the hemp industry as compared to any other. So we have under layer of licenses when we import and we export, then we do autumn normal, dry transaction. So people are not very keen. But since I had to go ahead with my dad, we just winged it and…

Matt Baum:
You just got to keep fighting. Right?

Shreyans Kokra:
Yes.

The challenges of working with hemp

Matt Baum:
Sooner or later they’re going to stop telling you. No, because they’re sick of you. This guy won’t shut up. Just tell him. Yes. All right. So what is the government like with hemp in India? Is it… Like you’re in the States, we’re still trying to figure it out. Like, which is ridiculous because our neighbors in Canada have been doing it since the 90s. Europe is way ahead of us. China has been doing this since they figured out they could make fabric out of it. What’s it like in India is a government, a little more green friendly or is it similar to the state?

Shreyans Kokra:
So it’s, it’s changing, the current is like, no one wants to get into this crop. So it’s so controversial, no elected government is like let me take this ahead. So it’s just stuck in us or double limbo, but there are smaller States which are now acting up and legalizing it. Because one interesting thing with India and hemp is it grows in the wild part in the country. So it’s not something that people haven’t seen. It’s just that it was not commercialized. People have seen in spite of the culture. So the ground level acceptance is there, but from a regulatory standpoint, it’s changing slowly. But we are hopeful especially with the United nations, the announcement coming last week with regards to cannabis and we tend to follow the US in order…

Matt Baum:
It does. It sounds very similar to the really stupid stuff we are dealing with hemp here in this country. I’m sorry. It’s like that there. I’m sorry. You guys are following us. It’s embarrassing. We’re bad at this.

Shreyans Kokra:
And even like the States that have made it legal, there’s a lot of issues because we have just copied the guidelines from the European union. Without actually making the guidelines as part of the country. So there are a lot of issues that are there a lot of things in the gray area, but we’re very hopeful that in a couple of years, all of this will work.

Matt Baum:
It sounds like they’re starting to see the benefits. And especially when you have someone like you was who is like, look, I’m not just grabbing this stuff and immediately exporting it to China or immediately exporting it to South America. We are keeping it here. We are using the local population and helping them make money and putting the product together right here and then exporting it. That’s…

Shreyans Kokra:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
very important. Very much. I mean, India, we have definitely for years and years, not just India, but India, Bangladesh, a lot of these smaller Vietnam, even we say, Hey, make our gap jeans, Hey, make our old Navy jeans do it any cheap, crappy way you can think of and then ship it over here. It’s nice to hear that someone is doing it the right way. I’m sorry that you’re fighting to do it. I wish this could just boom, explode. But this is an amazing story. And I think it’s awesome. And I hope anybody who’s listening to this goes and backs the Kickstarter. I want a pair of these jeans, so damn bad. I just want to walk around and be like, I’m wearing hemp jeans and they look awesome.

Shreyans Kokra:
Amazing, amazing. Thank you. We, as a hemp and the cannabis community, we keep talking about how great the plant is, but there’s a lot less action happening. Even if within the community, they start using things made out of hemp. Well, actually everything in the house that we are living in and in the office space that we are occupying. A lot of things can be made out of hemp and they can be better than the current things that we’re using. So we, as a community, if we start using hemp products in general, the industry and the community will become stronger. And I think the way forward for the industry is to start supporting each other first and then looking outside…

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Shreyans Kokra:
For more approval.

Matt Baum:
Because we can’t just continue to just cheerly do each other. That’s not going to change anything. We’ve got to keep screaming to everybody else. Hey, we can make wood out of this. Hey, we can make jeans out of this hey. We can make plastic out of this. And Oh, by the way, you have an endo cannabinoid system in your brain that wants this as well. I mean, it’s very important. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for what you’re doing. I truly think this is just incredible. And I hope this explodes. I hope you’re so famous, it’s stupid. And sometime next year, they’re going to be like, Oh, you got to hear when he was on that ministry of hemp podcast before anybody knew him.

Shreyans Kokra:
I definitely hope this happens, thank you so much.

Matt Baum:
Thanks to Shreyans for talking with me. It was going on midnight, his time when we had this conversation. So thank you for staying up late to talk to a lazy American that didn’t realize what time It was there. And also the links to the canvaloop Kickstarter are going to be in the show notes, please go check it out, watch the video. I think we’ll have it in the post for the podcast as well, but it’s truly incredible what they are doing. And he’s right. Hemp is one of the fibers of the future and it’s just a matter of time. And it’s really cool. Does he early pioneers? And when I say early pioneers, that’s ridiculous. Because we’ve been making hemp clothes for thousands of years, but it’s coming back in a big way and it’s really cool what they’re doing. So we owe it to support people like Shreyans in Canvaloop. Speaking of the show notes here at the ministry of hemp, we believe that a more accessible world is better for everyone. So you can find a complete written transcript of this show in the notes as well.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
Thanks again for spending some time with me today and learning about hemp and thanks to everybody that supports this podcast, by going to patron backslash ministry of hemp and becoming a ministry of hemp insider, it is an amazing way to keep this information coming and here, podcast extras to get a look at early posts before they go up on the site and all kinds of other extra stuff we’ve got T-shirts, we’ve got stickers, all kinds of cool stuff. It really does help. And you know what else helps leave me a review for this show, wherever you listen to podcasts, whether it’s a star rating or even a written review, it helps so much to bump us up in search algorithm. So other people can find show. Speaking of the show, next week, I will be talking to two of the gentlemen that started Santa packaging. They are one of the largest hemp plastic packaging companies in the United States.

Matt Baum:
And it was an awesome conversation. So be sure to tune in for that, if you need more ministry of hemp in your life until then head over to ministryofhemp.com, we have got our holiday gift guide. The holidays are coming and you have people that would love all kinds of hemp presents to check out our holiday gift guide. And if you didn’t hear it last week, check out our round table discussion that we posted on the show here, where I spoke with drew and kit and Deseret, the whole ministry of hemp gang. And we talked about hemp and cannabis on the ballot in the 2020 election. It was a great conversation and I hope you had a chance to check it out. You can also follow us on all our social media at backslash ministry of hemp at ministry of hemp or all over the place.

Matt Baum:
And we’re always kicking out great hemp education links. And maybe you have questions about this episode or CBD or anything hemp related. You can call us (402) 819-6417 and leave your message with your question. We will play it on a future show. We do these Q&A shows where myself and other people from ministry of hemp answer your questions. It’s a ton of fun. And I would love to hear from you. You can also email me matt@ministryofhemp.com with your question or shoot me an MP3 to that email too. Regardless we want to hear from you. It’s your show. Let’s hear your questions. I got to get out of here. And I like to do it the same way every week by saying, remember to take care of yourself, take care of others and make good decisions. Will you, this is Matt Baum with the ministry of hemp signing off.

A closeup of a person seen from behind, wearing a white-tshirt and Slow Hemp blue jeans. Just the lower part of the shirt and the back part of the jeans with the tag is visible.
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Matt Baum has been hosting, producing, and editing podcasts for almost ten years. He's been a touring musician, chef, journalist, and avid comic book fan for as long as he can remember. Currently, Matt lives in Omaha Nebraska with his wife Kacie and pugs Mable and Bobo.

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