As the process of cannabis legalization in Ecuador reaches its peak, the government is working on the last details of the new law that will be in force starting next month. Currently, it is expected that the Latin American country will implement different types of cannabis plantations across selected states, each one focused on different branches of the cannabis sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) reported that, in less than a month, there will be regulations allowing the planting and cultivation of the cannabis plant for industrial and medicinal use. The institution hopes to have the regulations, which will allow farmers to plant and grow hemp in Ecuador, ready by June 21st, 2020.
That was stated by the Undersecretary of Agricultural Production, Andrés Luque, in the virtual forum on “Regulation and opportunities for hemp cultivation in Ecuador”, at which representatives of unions, associations, suppliers and business people interested in its use participated.
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The legalization process is going forward with three types of plantations
On December 24th, 2019, the National Assembly decriminalized the cultivation and production of hemp containing less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of cannabis.
The MAG is the competent body to issue the regulation regarding the reform so that the law will come into force as of June 21st. Furthermore, the transitional provision gives the Ministry 120 days to prepare the regulation. However, it affirmed its commitment to deliver it next month, to promote the reconversion of production.
There are three types of plantations: industrial, open air and greenhouse.
Industrial hemp is a very rustic tall plant, with less than 1% THC, but with low CBD; its genetics are cheap. In Spain it costs $80 per hectare. It is ideal for the Coast, where the land is cheaper and more extensive. “It is an opportunity to reconvert crops such as sugar cane,” Luque said.
The industrial uses of this variety are thousands: heavy-duty textiles, seeds and oils rich in fats for animal feed, ecological fuels, lubricants and bioplastics, bioconstruction materials, cellulose for paper, among others.
For medical use there is a phenotypically very similar to psychoactive cannabis (marijuana), with less than 1% THC, but with a CBD range of 10% to 25%, it is an expensive genetics, $1 per seed. “This crop can be grown in the open or under a greenhouse.”
Open air plantations are used for biomass, oil extraction. Densities of 2,000 to 5,000 plants per hectare are used. And the greenhouse is the CBD flower used to make flower extracts.
Cannabis could become the spark that will reignite Ecuador’s economy
These oil extracts are intended for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, depending on the type of plantation made. It has important impacts in the area of health, in diseases such as epilepsy or neurodegenerative: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, chronic inflammatory, among others.
In the cosmetic industry, it is used to make shampoos, soaps and creams, among others.
According to Luque’s explanation, the production cycles are longer in the Sierra and shorter on the Coast.
In Ecuador, a productive, non-speculative regulation will be promoted, where MAG will provide the licenses and control from the sowing to the raw material. “The regulations are strict and no self-cultivation will be allowed,” he said.
Luque added that MAG will have the competence from the import of seeds to the production of oil; “that is to say, the whole agro-industrial process, which will allow faster procedures.”
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First published in El Telegrafo, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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