By / May 23, 2020

Ecuador is moving forward with its cannabis legalization process

The Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador offered to have the regulations related to the decriminalization of the cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis products for medical and industrial purposes ready until June 21st, 2020. This was announced by Andrés Luque, Undersecretary of Agricultural Production of the Ministry.

Through a video conference, broadcast on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, the official said that the regulations are advanced and that only certain final details remain to be adjusted. This should be in line with the reforms to the Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP), which will enter into force in approximately one month.

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Legalization will change the cannabis landscape in Ecuador

Luque clarified that, once the regulations are approved, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador will issue cannabis licenses for import and production of seeds, sowing and cultivation, plant breeding or research, processing, and industrialization; as well as export and marketing of biomass or non-psychoactive crude cannabis oil.

He specified that self-cultivation will not be allowed, as this would make control impossible, because non-psychoactive cannabis has similar characteristics to its variant considered a controlled substance. “In a house or a garage it is difficult to visually recognize whether a plant has psychoactive ingredients or not, phenotypically they are the same,” he said.

Furthermore, licenses can be applied for only by legal entities, public entities, cooperatives, or associations domiciled in Ecuador. Individuals cannot do this, because the aim is to avoid “informality” and focus more on the development of a robust cannabis industry.

The legal representative must also present a certificate of criminal record. The directors of the company and its shareholders must do the same, with more than 6% participation. “It shall be verified that they have not been declared criminally liable for crimes of drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and other related offenses.”

Several requirements will have to be met in order to obtain a cannabis license

One of the many requirements established by the government for obtaining these licenses will be to have defined a buyer or a promise to buy the product, either from the local market or abroad. The cost of the license will be variable, depending on the number of hectares to be planted. For now, the value has not been defined.

“In order to give licenses, it will be taken into account that the person who wants to cultivate cannabis will do so with a contract or a promise to buy, from an industry that has the permission here or abroad,” said the official.

While he said that the idea of the Ministry is that successful entrepreneurs in the flower sector can access this new market, the Undersecretary said that small and medium producers can also access licenses, under the figure of associations. “There will be no license business, they will be non-transferable, their goal is to generate foreign exchange and work.”


(Featured image by chuck herrera via Pixabay)

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