Is Colombia The Next Major Player In Medical Marijuana?

Colombia, lengthy infamous as a violence-torn drug warfare dystopia, is now set to turn into a worldwide chief within the authorized manufacturing of hashish for the medical market. Vancouver-based International Cannabis Corp, also referred to as ICC Labs, is the newest overseas firm to win a manufacturing license within the South American nation. ICC Labs says it intends to domesticate “non-psychoactive” hashish crops containing the cannabinoid CBD to supply numerous medicinal merchandise for home and worldwide distribution. Although it excludes THC, this new improvement begs the query: is Colombia the subsequent main participant in medical marijuana?

ICC Labs In Colombia

“Obtaining Colombian licenses further establishes ICC Labs as the leading cannabis producer in Latin America and solidifies our international presence in low-cost jurisdictions,” stated ICC Labs CEO Alejandro Antalich in a January 25 press launch. “The Colombian approval process was rigorous and requires, among other things, the creation of social development projects at our cultivation locations.”

Antalich stated the corporate’s expertise in Uruguay, the place it has just lately planted greater than 430 acres of hashish for use for CBD oil manufacturing, “will give us a competitive advantage over other Colombian license holders.”

In reality, Colombia aspires to satisfy a full 45% of worldwide demand for medicinal hashish in 2018. The director of the federal government physique overseeing the medical marijuana program, Andrés López, broached that determine in an interview with Radio Caracol (cited in Bogotá’s English-language City Paper). He stated he anticipated exports to Canada and a number of other Latin American nations, together with Argentina, Mexico and Peru. But he additionally emphasised that Colombia’s “internal market is very interesting,” saying that the federal government “has designed a system of rapid implementation, which will permit patients access to these medications.”

The National Fund of Stupefying Substances

López famous that one other Canadian agency, PharmaCielo Ltd, has begun the method of planting each psychoactive and non-psychoactive medicinal hashish strains at a nursery within the city of Rionegro, Antioquia division. FCM Global, a Colombia-based agency with Canadian funding, has additionally introduced the opening of a analysis and improvement laboratory in La Ceja, Antioquia.

However, in a throwback to the much less enlightened days of not very way back, López’s company has the unappetizing identify of the Fondo Nacional de Estupefacientes, or FNE—the National Fund of Stupefying Substances (generally translated as “narcotics”).

And there are extra critical throwbacks. Unlicensed hashish cultivation might proceed to return underneath the identical eradicationist and militarized insurance policies as earlier than. The small peasant growers who bore the brunt of the drug warfare militarization at the moment are demanding a stake within the authorized financial system, lest it’s shortly dominated by business giants—whereas nothing modifications within the countryside.

Final Hit: Is Colombia The Next Major Player In Medical Marijuana?

The situation that authorized producers spend money on social packages is an try at a type of “cannabis equity” (as activists within the United States are calling it). But benefitting from the business and truly having a stake in it are two various things.

Small peasant producers have just lately united in a brand new physique referred to as the National Coordinator of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Cultivators (COCCAM). It has been holding protests over continued repression of peasant cultivators whilst the large cash pours into Colombia’s “green gold rush.” On December 16, one native COCCAM chief, Alexander Jose Padilla Cruz, was shot by a soldier whereas harvesting coca leaves on his small farm in Tierra Alta, Córdoba division. TeleSur reviews that he was truly cooperating with the National Integral Program for Substitution of Illicit Crops, or PNIS by its weirdly suggestive acronym—designed to wean growers off coca, opium and hashish with subsidies and funding for authorized crops.

COCCAM stated in a assertion January 19 that three of its adherents had been assassinated by presumed right-wing paramilitaries, a number of extra threatened and 50 households displaced by violence. The assertion stated that final yr, a full 21 COCCAM members have been assassinated.

Between licensed hashish cultivation and a peace course of with the guerrillas, Colombia has definitely come a great distance in recent times. But, clearly, it additionally nonetheless has an extended option to go.


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