By / May 19, 2020

SIEMCOL bets on the benefits cannabis could bring to Colombia’s economy

The economic crisis that is triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic in most parts of the world is forcing profound changes in societies, and finding cost-effective and sustainable solutions to counteract the effects of the pandemic.

One market that may represent great opportunities for Colombia is that of cannabis. According to estimates by the consulting firm Euromonitor International released by Forbes, the cannabis market was worth $12 billion in 2018 worldwide, a figure that could increase to $166 billion by 2025.

This is a scenario of great possibilities, especially since thanks to the approval of Law 1787 of 2016, Colombia was one of the first countries to advance on the path of medical cannabis legalization

If you want to know more about cannabis, how the industry could help the Colombian economy by generating millions in revenue and thousands of work opportunities, and to find out the latest hemp news, download the mobile application.

In addition, in recent years, decrees and resolutions have been issued that continue to shape the regulatory framework for the production and processing of this plant for medical and scientific purposes.

That is because cannabis has non-psychoactive components, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), which represent major contributions to human health.

“At the moment, it is proven that cannabis is useful for chronic pain and mental health. However, many doors are open, as the body also has its own endocannabinoid system. This means that cannabis can represent a key treatment for many pathologies, such as inflammatory conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, epilepsy, among others,” explained Sergio Gómez, director of Operations of Siembra Medicinal Colombiana (SIEMCOL).

Cannabis could be what Colombia needs in term of economic opportunities

SIEMCOL is one of the companies that has identified the benefits that cannabis can offer to human health, but also to the national economy.

Born in 2018, this company, which is part of Asocolcanna, has the characteristic of having emerged from the medical sector under three pillars: welfare, research and Colombian identity.

“The well-being we generate is of two types: direct, through the use of complementary and substitute derivatives in its medicinal and industrial chain that reach people and even animals; and indirect, because we have a positive impact on the communities we reach,” said SIEMCOL’s director of operations.

With respect to research, the company has established agreements with the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University and the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia to advance knowledge of the cannabis plant and its applications.

With regard to identity, SIEMCOL’s priority is to generate a positive local impact, with national capital, professionals from the country and production for internal consumption. That can be seen in the municipality of Toca, where the company has a 30 hectare plot of land for the cultivation of cannabis.

This municipality was chosen by SIEMCOL for three reasons: it is a safe area, close to major roads in the country and close to an important water source, such as the La Copa reservoir, which supplies water to the lower Sogamoso.

In just two years, Toca is already experiencing the economic, social and environmental benefits that the cannabis industry can offer in its areas of influence. These are complemented by an ambitious future plan: “We project an average of 15 agricultural jobs per cultivated hectare in Toca. In addition, we have carried out the adaptation works with people from the region, and we are part of an association that promotes a responsible culture of water sources. Likewise, we are committed to reforestation, since on our 30-hectare property we have nearly 1,900 trees, mainly pines and eucalyptus, and we hope to plant more than 8,000 native species,” noted Gómez.

The cannabis industry could offer what no other sector can

There are still obstacles to the growth of the cannabis industry. At the global level, for example, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) remains the regulator and has cannabis on its roster. Similarly, in Colombia, there are still legal and moral barriers that make cannabis difficult to be passed through customs and that maintain the reluctance of the medical community to use alternative or complementary treatments other than conventional ones.

However, the positive changes that cannabis can generate for the national economy should be taken into account and should lead to a removal of these barriers.

“Our economy is fragile because, within the concepts of free trade, we are very dependent on imports. For example, not a few sectors and companies have had to stop their operations because they are dependent on products brought in from China. But we believe that with cannabis we can generate very important internal value chains at this time,” said Gomez.

For this industry to become active and its benefits to materialize on a larger scale, according to SIEMCOL’s director of operations, the possibility of cannabis becoming part of what used to be called the Mandatory Health Plan (POS) needs to be discussed. This would allow cannabis to reach users under the same conditions as other medicines and could build stronger bridges with a profit-making industry such as pharmaceuticals.

It is also necessary to take advantage of the conditions that make the growth of the cannabis industry feasible in the country, such as the plant’s long ancestral link with indigenous communities, the fertility of rural lands, and the training of the national peasantry.

All this can help to resolve the complicated relationship that Colombia has had with cannabis in recent decades in a process of transformation that would undoubtedly be exemplary in the eyes of the world.


(Featured image by chrisbeez via Pixabay)

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