Por: Diana Delgado
In a long-awaited announcement, Colombia authorized exports of dried cannabis flower for medical purposes. For businesses in the country, it’s a move that increases the growth potential of the nascent cannabis industry.
Colombia had approved a regulatory framework in July 2016 governing the production, distribution, sale and export of seeds—as well as products like creams and other derivatives based on cannabis—but had prohibited the export of dried cannabis flower, fearing that such a move would allow diversion of legal cannabis products into the illicit marketplace.
The new decree, 811, issued July 23, modifies an earlier law that regulated the commercialization of medical cannabis, Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz said.
The new decree also allows manufacturers to produce goods such as oils, extracts, textiles or food containing “non-psychoactive cannabis”—so long as they are limited to biomass containing less than 1% of THC. (Colombia does not make distinctions between “cannabis” and “hemp,” as in other countries, but rather uses the “psychoactive” nomenclature at the 1% THC content threshold.).
Colombia President Ivan Duque signed a decree ending “the ban on the export of dried flower” in an event organized at a facility owned by Clever Leaves, one of the 18 multinationals that grows medicinal cannabis in Colombia.
“Colombia starts to play big, and with this decree we are putting ourselves at the forefront in terms of regulatory competitiveness, at least in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said, noting that the country is no longer only working in a pharmaceutical market. “We are opening the space to do much more in cosmetics … [including] food and beverages and even textiles,” the president said.
Duque’s office estimates that the global market for medicinal and industrial cannabis may be worth US$62 billion by 2024. National and international companies have invested US$250mn in Colombia to develop this industry.
In Colombia, one of the world’s largest cannabis producers in the 1960s and 1970s, and the world’s biggest supplier of cocaine, continues to change the country’s drug policy.
With the regulation followed by a new resolution that will regulate how the dried flower should be produced, Colombia joined other counties in the region that have authorized exports of dried flower, said Jon Ruiz, director of the consultancy firm CannCons and former CEO of the cannabis companies Pharmacielo and Medcann. Notably, Colombia will have a competitive advantage against Ecuador, a neighboring nation with similar geographic conditions, which only authorized exports of non-psychoactive dried flower, he said
The resolution is expected to be ready in two months, Ruiz said. The Ministry of Justice will continue to be responsible for issuing licenses for seeds for the cultivation of cannabis plants. Meanwhile, the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute (INVIMA) will issue the licenses for derivatives.
Tomado de: Cannabis Bussines Time.
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