Cannabis may be illegal there. but smoking paraphernalia is big business in India

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Cannabis use is illegal in India, but that hasn't stopped a booming business from being built around it. Smoking paraphernalia commands a market estimated at over $66 million, writes Calvin Hughes. 

In 2014, two young entrepreneurs, Kunaal Kapoor and Nikunj Ahuja, started selling playfully decorated roach tips under the name SlimJim. Their company now sells over 50 kinds of cannabis accessories including papers, bongs and even cannabis seeds.

"The roach tips we used back in college were just plain white. We wanted to bring some fun to it, and that’s how it all began," Kapoor told Quartz.

Kapoor and Ahuja were able to tap into a market that almost wholly relied upon imported goods from brands like OCB or RAW. By moving some of the production to Mumbai they could severely undercut the costs of competitors in the area. Now they claim their profits have doubled every year since 2015.

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Other businesses have also sprung up around the same market and are pulling in similar profits. These businesses, like SlimJim, tend to be online-focused and include websites such as outontrip.com.

"We are basically a smoking accessory company. We have an exclusive distribution of one of the top smoking accessories distribution companies from Europe, HBI, which owns famous brands such as Wiz Khalifa, RAW, and all the products are imported from Germany," explains Outontrip co-founder Sourabh Narsaria.

India's $66 million slice of the world cannabis market place may be a small piece of the industry's total $7.7 billion, but the growth of companies like SlimJim and Outontrip prove there is room for this market to expand.

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