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Colombia authorizes the export of dried cannabis flowers for medicinal purposes

The new decree signed by President Iván Duque also provides incentives to the pharmaceutical industry

Colombian President Iván Duque
Colombian President Iván Duque during announcement about new measures against coronavirus. Photo: Government of Colombia/ Screenshot
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  • The decree establishes free zones in Colombia where the plant’s flower can be cut and dried;
  • Also, activities such as product transformation, packaging, and repackaging are allowed in these areas;
  • The decree regulates as well the “safe and informed” use of cannabis in the country.

A few weeks after Mexico decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana, Colombia‘s President Iván Duque signed a decree on Friday that authorizes the export of dried cannabis flowers for medicinal purposes and provides incentives to the pharmaceutical industry, guaranteeing access to derived medicines from the plant. Dried cannabis flowers are the most developed segment of this market, accounting for more than half of cannabis sales in more mature markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

READ ALSO: After a century of prohibition, Mexico decriminalizes recreational cannabis

The decree establishes free zones in Colombia where the plant’s flower can be cut, dried, transformed, and packed. The decree regulates as well the “safe and informed” use of cannabis in the country.

Likewise, the new decree seeks to encourage the cannabis market in terms of economic reactivation, job creation, and industrial development. It establishes that cannabis-based preparations are allowed to be sold in drugstores, introduces the concept of hemp into the regulatory framework to promote the development of this industry’s segment, and enables the acquisition of non-psychoactive cannabis from small producers. But there are some loose ends to be tightened.

Colombia’s National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute (Invima) will be the competent authority to issue licenses for the manufacture of derivatives (how is this going to work? Not clear yet). Also, the guidelines for the export of dried flowers and the protection mechanisms for small and medium growers still have to be created and regulated, preferably considering a technology transfer approach.

The Ministry of Justice continues to be responsible for issuing licenses for seeds for sowing and the cultivation of cannabis plants.

The legal marijuana market is on track to be worth $70.6 billion globally by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research, an India & U.S.-based consulting company.

READ ALSO: Regulation and new market players pave the way for financial digitization in Colombia and Mexico

At the beginning of the year, the Colombian cannabis industry association Asocolcanna urged the country to seize the opportunity brought about by the new decree. “It’s crucial for Colombia to achieve its potential at a time when the global cannabis industry is being refined, and both investors and clients are demanding results,” Asocolcanna said in a letter sent to Duque.

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