The medical cannabis industry has been developing in Colombia for more than 3 years. Bioactiva de Colombia will focus its production on selected seeds: a cannabis seed with selected genetics. However, this is not a simple process, previous studies need to be done to determine the genetics, and respective permits from the ICA, which is not a simple process, nor is it low cost.
Bioactiva de Colombia S.A. is a new company that ventured into the world of medical cannabis research. It already has permits granted by the ICA to begin the difficult journey of studying the cannabis seeds, which, according to Francisco Correa Polo, a biologist from Magdalena, is a world full of discoveries that would bring many benefits to Colombian producers.
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Bioactiva de Colombia to lead cannabis process in the country
“The company wants to lead the process of cannabis in Colombia for all purposes, being clear that cannabis is very useful even for fun. However, our real interest goes from feeding animals to oil extraction, and paper production. Cannabis use is much higher than that of any other plant.”
For Correa Polo, there is a lot of misinformation around cannabis, including the claim that if you wanted to, you could get more out of cannabis than oil. “We are talking about a product that, from the pharmaceutical point of view, competes in prices with oil. A kilo of CBD (cannabinoid components) costs $6,700 with 60% purity. if you take it out per square meter cultivated with the plant it surpasses livestock, flower growing, palm growing, and bananas.”
The company’s production focus will be on selected seeds
Bioactiva de Colombia will focus its production on selected seeds, that is, a cannabis seed with selected genetics. However, this is not a simple process, previous studies need to be done to determine the genetics. In addition, the respective permits from the ICA are needed, which according to Correa Polo, is not a simple process, nor is it cheap.
Bioactiva de Colombia will seek to sell already classified cannabis seeds for different profits to Colombian producers. “Genetics is the fundamental aspect, producers of selected seeds are only a few in the country,” said the biologist from Magdalena. It is estimated that by 2025 the legal cannabis business will grow by 77% with sales above $160 billion. That is why Colombia must get involved in the cannabis industry.
Long time for the cannabis license
In economic terms, running a business of this kind is extremely complicated. Not only because of the complexity of obtaining permits from the national government, but also because of the high costs. “The company took a year to get the license, which was a problem for us.The long period needed to obtain licenses has led to bankruptcy many of those who tried to succeed in the cannabis market. The government requires having a greenhouse, laboratory and all the necessary equipment before starting production, so the investment is very high, and could reach $588 million (MXN 11 billion).”
Bioactiva de Colombia is a family business composed of the interviewee (biologist), a farmer and a doctor. Francisco Correa Polo is the brilliant mind that manages the entire operation of the company, while his partners take care of other issues. In the near future, this growing company is waiting for other permits granted by the ICA to produce the technical data sheet of the cannabis seeds, in order to offer them on the national and international cannabis market as raw material. Later, they will also seek to have processors permits with the aim of being able to sell their own cannabis-based products.
Profits for recreational cannabis
One of the biggest obstacles, according to Francisco Correa, is the prejudice against cannabis. The phrase in which he assured that “cannabis is extremely useful and it serves more than just having fun” summarized his thinking, which derives in that Colombian society looks at the cannabis plant in a mistaken way, that it has more determining values than the simple fact of ‘getting high’, and that the recreational use should be the least important.
However, he does not demonize legal recreational consumption, and believes that “the company should take the example of first world nations like the United States and Canada, which are on the same continent as us, and are filling state coffers with the taxes from cannabis.”
Between October 2018 and March 2019 (5 months), the Canadian government reported profits of over $189 million from the sale of recreational cannabis. This would be a great benefit for the Colombian state, taking into account that Colombian land is much more suitable for the planting and production of cannabis than other countries.
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