In the 1960s, hippies would escape to Kathmandu for the range of cannabis that the country offered- to be free and smoke as much pot as they liked. But, now tourists are more attracted to the range of clothing made by the well-known marijuana plant.
There are still weed distributors on the streets of Thamel that will encourage tourists to buy cannabis. However, the hub is now more known for its designer weed apparel that is created from a blend of cannabis fibre and cotton.
“In my business, cannabis isn’t illegal. If it were then we wouldn’t have these products on sale” says Yubaraj Timilsina. Yunaraj was originally a vegetable vendor before he started in the cannabis industry, he now owns Hemp Headquarter, a manufacturer for cannabis-based attire.
Those who deal in cannabis fabric, source their plants and fabric from western Nepal. Here, cannabis farming is only permitted, under strict supervision from police, for hemp production.
The fibre used for cannabis clothing does not contain any THC, also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound that gives cannabis its narcotic property. This is removed so it does not alert sniffer dogs at airports.
Clothing and fabrics that are made from 100% cannabis and hemp cotton can often cost up to Rs10,000, the equivalent of around $140 USD dollars. However, even though the cost can be so high, production is still low. The majority of the products in Kathmandu get shipped out to countries that have legalised marijuana such as Canada and parts of Australia.
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