Colombia could supply 44% of the global demand for medicinal marijuana in 2018 after the board of directors of the country’s Drug Control Fund authorized the harvest of 40,5 tons of this plant for export-only proposes.
In an interview with Caracol – a leading Colombian radio network – the director of the Fondo Nacional de Estupefacientes, Andrés López, claimed that Canada could become the first beneficiary of Colombian-grown medicinal marijuana, followed by Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Paraguay. Even though the director of the drug agency said that the amount of exports destined to each specific nation has yet to be confirmed, the demand for Colombian cannabis has already attracted trans-national pharmaceutical companies, including PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings, a subsidiary of the Canadian medicinal marijuana company PharmaCielo Ltd. In December, the Colombian subsidiary announced that it has begun the process of planting both psychoactive and non-psychoactive medicinal cannabis strains at a nursery centre in Rionegro, Antioquia.
“As the only grower to receive the necessary quota approval from the Colombian government, we are very excited to know that we will have our very first planting completed by December 31,” said Federico Cock-Correa, CEO of PharmaCielo Colombia. “We thank the government for their recognition of PharmaCielo’s readiness for the immediate planting of a wide variety of exclusive and historically important Colombian cannabis strains, which have been utilized for spiritual and wellness purposes by Colombia’s indigenous communities for decades and in some instances centuries.”
PharmaCielo’s nursery covers an area of 27.7 hectares with 12.1 hectares dedicated to open-air greenhouses. “We see a steady increase in interest from leading participants in today’s rapidly developing global cannabis marketplace, seeking to develop strategic partnerships with PharmaCielo to access high volumes of premium quality medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products,” added Dr. Patricio Stocker, President and CEO of PharmaCielo Ltd.
FCM Global, another pioneer in the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes, announced last month the opening of a research and development laboratory in La Ceja, Antioquia. FCM Global is a Colombian medical cannabis company headquartered in Medellin and with a distribution office in Toronto, Canada. FCM Global’s new cannabis laboratory will offer companies access to cost-effective clinical research on the benefits of the medicinal plant. “We believe cannabinoids are the medical science market of the future,” said Carlos Velasquez, CEO and co-founder of FCM. “By extending our service scope to include world-class research and development, we hope to add further value in support of our client-partners, whose product innovations have the potential to improve millions of lives.”
After Colombia, the United States is the country with the largest allocation of medicinal marijuana for both internal and external use. The U.S currently has 33,4 tons approved, followed by Israel (10 tons) and Australia (2,5 tons).
The director of the National Drug Fund also confirmed that there are more than 20 companies in Colombia that currently hold licenses to plant marijuana and harvest both psychoactive and non-psychoactive plants. Among the other companies are Khiron Life Sciences Corp., Canmecol S.A.S., and Medcann S.A.S.
Canada is one of many countries that has most shown interest in the development of Colombia’s cannabis industry due to the high costs involved in planting marijuana in its own country. “We have proposed a serious business model, based on scientific evidence and focused on health and patients,” said López. “This model also recognizes international narcotics treaties.”