Cannabis From Himachal Pradesh, Magic Mushrooms and Pepsi-Airtel

Gloria Indica

Hi! Welcome to the 7th edition of The Gloria Indica, our newsletter written specifically for Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome. Wherever you’re from, whenever you’ll read this, this is our newsletter when we train our eyes a bit more specifically towards the cannabis, business and technology narratives going on around the world of ours today. Narratives that’ll have an impact on all of us, if not immediately, then definitely in a few years. 

Are Pepsi Drinkers Airtel Users?

We’re not sure. But we’re sure that both sets of marketing teams have done their research and its probably true. As per Economic Times:

“Under the Pepsi-Airtel pact that goes live September 1, India’s second-largest telco will get its branding splashed on packs of Lay’s, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos, and also on supporting ads on TV channels being put up by PepsiCo India. The Indian arm of US beverages and snack maker, in fact, has roped in big names from Bollywood to feature in separate ads to unleash a consumer-focused media blitzkrieg. The `Kurkure’ ad will feature actor Akshay Kumar and the Lays ad, actor Ranbir  actor Ranbir Kapoor, top PepsiCo India executives revealed”

“Airtel’s chief marketing officer Shashwat Sharma said the telco has partnered with “PepsiCo to reward loyal customers with complimentary data to unlock a world of digital experiences on Airtel Thanks, when they buy their favourite packet of snack”. He added that the pact would also enable PepsiCo’s customers to experience Airtel’s 4G data services network.” 

Good one Airtel! Meanwhile, in an alternate universe Coca-Cola is reaching out to a Reliance Jio for the same arrangement. It is the first time in Indian marketing history that a telecom company and a soft-drink-snacks maker have entered into a marketing agreement. Airtel has around 300 million subscribers in India, while Reliance Jio, around 400 million. Maybe the agreement has a clause, whereby each time a user uses the Pepsi coupon code to use Airtel internet data, Airtel would be liable to pay a fixed lump sum cost per million users or so. Let’s see. 

And just a day later, what did Reliance Jio actually do? They went broadband. 

Here’s Akash Ambani, the heir to Reliance:

“JioFiber is already the largest Fiber provider in the country with over a million connected homes, but our vision for India and Indians is much larger. We want to take Fiber to each and every home and empower every member of the family. After making India the largest and the fastest growing country in mobile connectivity with Jio, JioFiber will propel India into global broadband leadership, thereby providing broadband to over 1,600 cities and towns. I urge everyone to Join the JioFiber movement to make India the broadband leader of the world,” said director of Jio,Akash Ambani .

Let’s keep blazing.

Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) Will Go Public

Peter Thiel is a well-known man in the business world, especially in the Venture Capital world and also for his role in scaling Paypal, the quite prominent payments service everyone’s heard of. The man has inspired legions of entrepreneurs who in turn have gone on to build world class companies (read ‘Paypal mafia’). However, not much light is shed on the fact that Peter Thiel is also an investor in Compass Pathways, a UK-based company which has just applied to raise $100 million dollars to perform clinic trials to treat patients struggling with severe depression, using psilocybin, the chief psychoactive compound present in Magic Mushrooms.

As per BNN Bloomberg:

“Compass Pathways Plc., a U.K. startup backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel and lead investor Christian Angermayer, has filed to go public about four years after it was founded. The London-based firm filed to raise US$100 million, a placeholder amount likely to change, according to a filing Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It plans to use proceeds to fund clinical trials for its depression therapy that uses the psychoactive compound psilocybin found in Magic Mushrooms”

In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration gave it “breakthrough therapy” status, expediting the development process. Synthetic doses of the hallucinogen psilocybin had been tested as an antidepressant in the 1960s in the U.S. before former President Richard Nixon banned its use. The drug has seen a renaissance in recent years in the scientific community. Scientists can’t exactly explain why psychedelics appear to help patients. Emerging brain-scanning technology suggests the substances can reboot a brain that shows signs of malfunction from what are essentially buggy pieces of neural code. “We are motivated by the need to find better ways to help and empower people suffering with mental health challenges who are not helped by existing therapies,” Compass said in its filing. “Early signals from academic studies, using formulations of psilocybin not developed by us, have shown that psilocybin therapy may have the potential to improve outcomes for patients suffering with depression.”

One person’s recreation is another person’s medicine.

Psychedelics continue to surprise us, and indeed we wonder, why did it take science and technology so long to catch up to valuable plants like cannabis and mushrooms? Maybe it’s because it’s only now that we have the infrastructure in place to go deep into the plant’s compound and molecular profile, in addition to admitting that our existing medications have not worked as per expectations. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Oh Himachal, Oh Malana, Oh Kasol

Maybe the cops are fed up of destroying plants that just keep growing back (because there’s soil and sunlight, can’t stop them too), or maybe they’ve realized that cannabis plants evolved 28-38 million years ago, while humanity has been around for 7 million, or maybe local farmers want to expand their markets, maybe everything, we do not know. But Himachal Pradesh, the Indian state known all over the world for cannabis is waking up. As per Outlook 

The locals cultivating cannabis, now having developed expertise in sourcing hybrid varieties, are pushing for its legalisation, and even for making it a legitimate livelihood. This poses a new challenge to the state government‘s fight against the drug trafficking racket and the cultivation of cannabis — the basic source of charas, hemp and marijuana. The entire Kullu district and parts of Mandi, Chamba and Shimla are into cultivation of the weed as a cash crop, though it is done quite clandestinely. Frequent police raids, destruction of standing crops of cannabis by the police and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have not been able to stop the cultivation. Every year, the cultivations spread through new inaccessible valleys, and high mountain slopes”

Malana cream, AK-47, Himalayan Queen, Black Gold, Skunk Balls are a few popular names having high demand. Malana cream is particularly known for its high potency and thus brings high returns to the locals dealing in the cultivation of cannabis and extraction of end-products,” says I D Bhandari, a former DGP, who himself had led several drives at Malana to eradicate the drug smuggling racket. He recalls having detected hybrid cannabis plants, which were as high as six to seven feet”

Indian cannabis strains are already brand names in the worldwide cannabis markets for their quality. All Indian states need to do is to use that quality to make high-quality medical and consumer-facing products. We just need to incentivize enough farmers to grow cannabis well and tap their expertise to reach the world cannabis markets. This will help farmers as well since Indian cannabis as previously mentioned, is already sought-after for its recreational use, and now this brand value needs to transfer into medicine, and then over time towards using cannabis for making clothes, protein powder and all other practical applications (and we aren’t talking about recreational use. Yet). 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Have a great day 🙂

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