Extremadura was authorized for the cultivation of cannabis plants in 180 square meter greenhouses in 2019. There are other companies in Extremadura that plan to produce cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. The economic impact of the local cannabis industry is predicted to be strong and is also expected to bring the turnover from $56 to $168 billion within five years.
Five companies and the Polytechnic University of Valencia are the only entities authorized to grow cannabis plants for Extremadura’s cannabis industry.
These concessions, updated in August 2019, are made by the State Agency for Medicine and Health Products (Aemps), which is part of the regions’ Ministry of Health.
There are also four other companies authorized to produce and manufacture cannabis and its products for medical and scientific purposes. In this case, since Aemps, no permits have been granted in the region.
Extremadura’s cannabis industry has a positive forecast
Companies authorized to carry out such plantations in Extremadura’s cannabis industry for research purposes must assume a number of requirements related to confidentiality. In no case may they advertise the exact location of these plantations.
The application form for authorization asks for a description of the safety measures, both on the plots and in the facilities. It also requires information on the varieties of cannabis used and the approximate quantity of THC.
On the other hand, these procedures are not necessary for industrial hemp cultivation and production that is dedicated to obtaining fiber or seeds.
Hemp in Extremadura
Here, research centers in the region have been involved in certain projects. For example, the Food and Agriculture Technology Centre of Extremadura (CTAEX) was involved in an international study aimed at expanding the market for industrial hemp through its use in creams, gels or sunscreens.
The Centre for Scientific and Technological Research of Extremadura (CICYTEX) has also developed a project to test hemp cultivation for industrial purposes. The task of the researchers in Extremadura was limited to the relationship with the agricultural sector.
“We were able to verify that it is perfectly given. We know the agronomy of the crop and it adapts very well to our soil,” said Jerónimo González, head of the department of Extensive Crops at CICYTEX.
He added that the study used varieties of cannabis permitted by the European Union.
Legalization spreads across the globe
The main difference between cannabis planted for industrial purposes and cannabis used for research or scientific purposes is the amount of THC.
In the first case, the presence of THC in the plant does not exceed 0.2%, while the second case is allowed higher percentages. However, application to Aemps remains mandatory for the cultivation of cannabis plants with a THC content of less than 0.2$ if they are intended for research purposes.
Cannabis has a number of purposes in medicine that goes beyond the well-known. Medical marijuana is prescribed outside of Spain in some painful treatments or for terminally ill patients due to its narcotic effect.
Countries such as the U.S. and Canada have already taken the side of legalization. The latter has also done so in favor of the use of recreational marijuana, as has Uruguay.
Cannabis production on the borders of Extremadura’s cannabis industry
Closer to the borders of Extremadura’s cannabis industry, there are other examples of cannabis production.
Portugal is among the European Union countries that have legalized medical cannabis, although not for personal cultivation for their own consumption.
In this sense, from the CICYTEX center, they are aware of the important demand that exists for this crop for therapeutic use.
“There is a lot of interest in this topic and we have a line of R & D on the cultivation of cannabis,” reported the CICYTEX researcher.
He said that until its use is approved within the health field in Spain, it will be difficult to multiply studies on this subject.
The economic impact that this sector would have cannot be ignored. The expected turnover is very high. Various reports by specialized consultancy firms estimate that between $56 and $168 billion (€50 and €150 billion) a year can be generated by medical marijuana within five years.
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