The development of the Colombian cannabis market keeps moving forward at a rapid pace. Antioquia Liquor Factory (FLA) has recently received the authorization to start the commercialization of cannabis. Medical cannabis producers already have an association, the Colombian Association of Cannabis Industries (Asocolcanna). It is expected that the cannabis market will generate millions in revenues.
With the approval of the Antioquia Development Plan 2020-2023, the proposal to authorize the Antioquia Liquor Factory (FLA) to develop a production and commercialization line of medical cannabis across the country, starting next year, was accepted.
There are currently about 190 licenses in the pipeline for the production of cannabis. Even so, for the case of Antioquia, it would be the first department in Colombia to enter this business. This activity could benefit small farmers and generate close to 20,000 direct jobs.
With this plan, the Antioquia Liquor Factory (FLA) would enter a market worth $16.5 billion in 2019, and $4.6 billion in the case of hemp – the name given to the variety of cannabis used for industrial purposes.
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Colombia’s cannabis industry will make a jump in the coming months
Approximately 752 cannabis licenses have been issued in Colombia in the past years, and the Ministry of Justice of the Latin American country is currently seeking to expedite the application process through a new and innovative digitization program that will go into full motion in the coming months.
In 2019, Colombia had approximately 45 hectares planted with medical cannabis. Companies such as the Canadian holding company Pharmacielo, established in Colombia since 2017, already have 150 strains registered and are listed on the stock exchange.
The cannabis licensing process can take up to 12 months, and the aim of the Cannabis Control Information Mechanism (MICC) is to speed up the process to only 30 days, which will help potential investors and businesses to focus their efforts and develop the cannabis industry.
The producers of medical cannabis already have an association, the Colombian Association of Cannabis Industries (Asocolcanna). It is made up of 33 Colombian companies related to the exploitation of the plant, good practices in the cultivation, manufacture, and commercialization of derivatives for medical and scientific purposes.
The potential of the Colombian cannabis market
Although the cannabis market is really a potential candidate to become one of the key sectors in the country’s economy, there are still difficulties.
In its research, Fedesarrollo documented several problems in this market; The first is the barriers to exports, followed by uncertainty about regulatory changes.
The second is the lack of political will on the part of the national government to support the development of the cannabis industry. In addition, there are concerns in the sector about unfair competition practices. These are perceived to be a high risk factor, because of the difficulties the government may have in exercising effective control over the production and marketing of cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes.
Currently, countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Uruguay, and several states in the United States, have legalized the sale of recreational cannabis, a market that is projected to be $73.6 billion by 2027. If it enters the cannabis sector, Colombia with 12 hours of sunshine, no winter seasons and a yield of 3-4 cycles per hectare, could be a considerable competitor in the market.
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First published in Panam Post, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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