As the popularity of the cannabis sector keeps growing, countries are looking for the future and taking a step forward in order to invest in the industry. Mexico, despite its slow regulatory performance, is now considered as the Latin American country with the most cannabis-related patents registered in the past months, as investors and entrepreneurs look forward to securing their ideas.
Cannabis legislation is an issue that has been addressed for decades and is undoubtedly one of the great controversies that some countries have presented for its status. In America, Canada, and the United States legalized cannabis for both medical purposes and for recreational use in the famous “coffee shops”.
However, cannabis will not only impact the pharmaceutical or chemical industry, it will also have great opportunities in integrated waste management.
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The different uses of cannabis and the benefits it would bring to the economy
Worldwide, there are several industries with more than 3,500 registered patent families, representing more than 10,000 publications, of which only 33% of the total families have been granted – China being one of the main generators of solutions in the area. This offers an idea of the investment that is being made worldwide in this area.
In Mexico, the cannabis market will reach $2 billion, in cannabis-based products, so the evolution of the number of requests for innovations in the area is reflected in the fact that the uses and studies of cannabis are increasing.
In fact, Mexico places 12th among the countries with the most registered patents, only below China, the United States, and Canada. That opens a great opportunity for the companies that intend to enter the cannabis market, but at the same time, it allows the country to understand the threats and opportunities that international competitors have at the technological level.
Cannabis patents registration keeps surging in Mexico
In that sense, at the end of last year, the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris) released about 60 permits to produce raw materials, food, beverages, food supplements, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals based on cannabis.
The evolution of the number of requests for innovations in the area is reflected in the fact that the uses and studies of cannabis are increasing. In 1996 alone, there were 14 cannabis families, of which 18 had application and only 13 patents were conceived. However, the families were increasing and it was not until 2016 that 839 classifications were discovered and 1,034 applications were made, of which only 317 were accepted.
Furthermore, despite the fact that technology and needs have advanced over the years, in 2018 there were only 597 families, 144 applications and 278 patents conceived, which offers a view of the effectiveness of investment in this area.
On March 4th, Mexican senators from the Health and Justice committees generally approved legalizing the use of recreational cannabis. In view of this, it is important to take into account that beyond the many details that are discussed about cannabis legalization, there is another reality on the side of research and development of applications in fields such as medicine in an accelerated growth.
An important issue regarding the cannabis plant is that, according to the National Association of the Cannabis Industry (Anicann), the legalization implies other benefits that are not only economic, but also environmental, ecological and medicinal, since hemp has more than 1,500 uses.
For example, the seeds are used to produce protein powder, milk, beer and even fuel, while the leaves are used to make butter and infusions, among other things, which opens up a range of business opportunities. In addition, according to Anicann, in Mexico there are approximately 40 million Mexicans who suffer from critical pain that can be treated with hemp-derived products.
Slow regulatory processes are not stopping the cannabis sector from growing
Mexico occupies an important place not only for the presence of the main international laboratories in the country, but also for its local production activity and for the quality in research and development. Among the 35 companies that lead the research sector at a technological level are BASF, Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Sanofi, among others.
Against this background, the good news is that despite the slow regulatory performance, investment in research for medical purposes of cannabis worldwide has grown by 1000% in the last two decades. So, it opens an important space in Mexico to continue deepening the issue, in an assertive way, and identify opportunities for lines of research development or the possible acquisition and licensing of technology.
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First published in Entrepreneur, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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