The legalization of cannabis in Ecuador is moving at a fast pace and the government is doing everything in its power to keep the sector under control. Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture of the country announced that every person that is interested in obtaining a cannabis license, both for growing or marketing. Entrepreneurs will have to present their criminal records and where the funds came from.
With the whole web of corruption that was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Agriculture points to specific requirements for people seeking to produce cannabis or hemp in the country, such as criminal records and where the funds come from.
According to the transitional fifth of the reformed Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP), the Agrarian authority has until October 2020 to present the law that will regulate the planting of hemp or cannabis in Ecuador.
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Ecuador will start regulating the type of cannabis licenses to be granted
According to Andrés Luque, Undersecretary of Agricultural Production at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, this is a document that regulates the type of licenses to be granted, activities related to the acquisition of seeds, planting, production, and marketing, as well as imports and exports. “Our competence will be until the extraction of the first crude oil. We started working on this last year,” said the official.
As the competent body, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) will regulate from the entry of the seed into the country, which must be certified, depending on the country of origin, he explained.
It is mandatory that its delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content, commonly known as THC, which is the psychoactive component that alters the perception and modification of the state of mind of people, be of parameters lower than 1%.
Shareholders legality will also be checked according to the law
Luque will also request the corporate structure of the companies that are going to work with the item, as well as the criminal records of the shareholders, and the analysis of the funds to verify that they are legal.
“As part of this control, monitoring will be carried out by the National Agrarian Authority to check the place where the licensees will install the crop. All these areas will be georeferenced, as well as the entire polygon to know specifically where they are located,” he added.
The work of the Agricultural Authority is based on Article 127 of the COIP. In accordance with that regulation, in the Organic Law on the Comprehensive Prevention of the Socioeconomic Phenomenon of Drugs and Regulation and Control of the Use of Classified Substances Subject to Control the following text is added in the third general provision:
“Non-psychoactive cannabis or hemp, understood as the cannabis plant and any part of that plant, whose delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is less than 1% in dry weight, is excluded from the scheduled substances subject to control and is regulated by the National Agrarian Authority.”
The president of the Assembly’s Justice Commission, Ximena Peña, who led the COIP reforms, confirmed that cannabis or hemp was excluded as a pisco-tropic substance to be cultivated and marketed for industrial purposes. “This opens up a new productive field in the country.”
A full legal market will create more jobs in the country
Considering that with the decriminalization of the production and use of cannabis a new productive and commercial activity is born that will generate hundreds of jobs that currently are sought for in Ecuador’s incipient economy.
In addition, decriminalization generates a medical alternative by using to the maximum the curative or palliative properties of cannabis.
Illegal cultivation of cannabis will be punishable by law
As for the cultivation and harvesting of narcotic and psychotropic substances for marketing purposes, this practice is still punishable by a prison sentence of one to three years, said the president of the Justice Commission, Ximena Peña.
Article 22 of the Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP), on planting and cultivation, provides that:
“Any person who cultivates or harvests plants to extract substances that by themselves or by whose active ingredients are to be used in the production of narcotic and psychotropic substances, for marketing purposes, shall be sentenced to one to three years’ imprisonment, except in the cases established in the first and second general provisions of the Organic Law on the Comprehensive Prevention of the Socioeconomic Phenomenon of Drugs and Substances subject to Control and Enforcement.”
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First published in eltelegrafo, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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