The nascent medical cannabis industry in Colombia opens new paths in terms of economic development and business opportunity. Various government, business and research needs regarding its ‘scientific use’ offer a range of commercial opportunities for those with a cannabis license in Colombia.
Research-based businesses can gain a commercial advantage in Colombia’s cannabis industry by obtaining a license and offering business-to-business (B2B) scientific research services.
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Development of legal framework to get a cannabis license in Colombia
In Colombia, thanks to Law 1787 of 2016 and Decree 613 of 2017, the stigma on the cannabis plant was lifted, and the plant was legalized for specific personal and commercial uses. Colombia saw this legalization as a valuable opportunity to support greater economic development. Additionally, this move put Colombia on the map for cannabis production, and it’s now set to be one of the world’s leading producers of cannabis. Colombia now sits alongside pioneer countries in the legalized cannabis category, such as Canada, United States, Uruguay and Bulgaria, among others.
Much of the success in the cannabis industry in Colombia is the responsibility of the Colombian institutions, who have made a joint effort to cover all flanks and quickly develop clear processes for entrepreneurs to start a cannabis business in Colombia. This includes:
- the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health from the legal side
- the Colombian Agricultural Institute from a technical and agronomic point of view, and
- the National Institute of Food and Drug Surveillance in terms of health.
Having a strong, interconnected legal system with multidisciplinary support has proven crucial for the now booming cannabis industry in Colombia.
Types of cannabis licenses in Colombia
Thanks to this interagency collaboration and proactivity, Colombia has established 4 types of cannabis licenses in Colombia:
- Cultivation of Psychoactive Cannabis
- Cultivation of Non-Psychoactive Cannabis
- The use of Cannabis Seeds
- The Manufacture of Cannabis Derivatives.
Research companies and cannabis producers can obtain these licenses to conduct a number of operations, including using the plant and seeds for scientific purposes.
Accessible land for starting a cannabis business in Colombia
There are plentiful locations and ideal climate conditions to produce cannabis in Colombia. Combined with clear processes and institutional support for cannabis business in Colombia, entrepreneurs entering the market are set for imminent success from an economic point of view.
Ease of obtaining a cannabis license in Colombia, plus growing conditions are key motivators for many companies, both local and foreign, to invest in this market.
Colombia’s proximity to the equator means year-round sun and relative temperate stability for crops. This reduces set up costs for cannabis businesses in Colombia, allowing them to make savings and be more competitive against other international players. Choosing to enter the Colombian cannabis market is therefore a highly attractive option for entrepreneurs.
Scientific use of cannabis in Colombia
Colombian legislation on medical cannabis issues opens up an access road that benefits both state institutions and investors: the approach for scientific use of cannabis.
Opportunities for researchers with a cannabis license in Colombia
The scientific field in Colombia welcomes the arrival of the medical cannabis industry by finding a broad spectrum for research and deepening understanding of this plant.
The United States is a strong advocate for greater interaction with cannabis from a medicinal, scientific and recreational point of view; 9 of the 51 states that have legalized its use for one or more of these purposes.
However, a barrier to research into cannabis in the US is its classification as a ‘Schedule I’ drug, which means that it has no recognized beneficial effects on peoples’ health.
Perceptions on cannabis’ uses differs worldwide, and this offers opportunity to businesses and private researchers who want to fill gaps in understanding and available information.
Those businesses with a cannabis license in Colombia that are dedicated to understanding and employing its scientific uses have valuable early-mover advantages, such as the chance to undertake studies and provide comprehensive information and support for others looking to use cannabis for scientific purposes. Researchers in Colombia may find their influence could extend to those in the US looking for answers about the scientific use of cannabis, but without the necessary legal framework or capability to undertake that research themselves.
Creation of new cannabis varieties
The genetics of the cannabis plant are so interactive, that it can be genetically varied produce new strains.
Fortunately for those interested in this industry, in Colombia it is possible to do this by obtaining a registration license as a seed importer, which allows us to bring cannabis varieties from different areas.
Colombia offers a great diversity of thermal floors. This means that no matter how specific the growing conditions are in the country of origin, Colombia’s environment allows you to treat and adapt the plant variety and undertake your studies. This is, in short, giving added value to the product and overall market by further informing government, business and consumer understanding of cannabis.
It is understood that there will be an economic benefit to bringing your own kind of cannabis variety to the market (known in legal terms as sui géneris). Your product is innovative, offers new options to consumers, and helps make your mark and raise brand awareness. In Colombia, you can obtain a patent for your cannabis variety.
Research into cannabis properties continues
The scientific and medicinal field makes an important link when it comes to the cannabis plant. As is logical, to use a new product for treatment requires previous studies that certify that, in effect, that product helps to alleviate or improve certain conditions that the human being presents. Cannabis continues to undergo studies by medical and scientific experts to validate the various claims made about the benefits of cannabis.
This research focuses on the value of the plant’s components, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Derivatives can be drawn from these components, called ‘cannabinoids’.
At present, derivatives are already being used in certain cosmetic or skincare products, including as oils and moisturisers. Businesses are already exploring options to obtain their cannabis license in Colombia for these purposes. While the market is still developing, there is further opportunity for others to join them. Experienced researchers are a valuable component of these commercial operations, especially as businesses aim to diversify their market offerings by selling new cannabis products.
Researchers and businesses looking to get a cannabis license in Colombia for scientific purposes have a lot of value to add to this industry. Whether operating as B2B service providers, or as researchers to develop their own cannabis product, these research-based cannabis businesses in Colombia can experience long term commercial success in the booming cannabis market in Colombia.
Get a cannabis license in Colombia with Biz Latin Hub
At Biz Latin Hub, our cannabis legal experts offer a range of services to help you form a company and obtain your cannabis license in Colombia.
Our local and expatriate team of professionals provide a number of market entry and back-office services to support new businesses in Colombia. We have our finger on the pulse of updated trends and regulations in the cannabis market, and we’ll ensure your business gets started with the best chance for success.
Contact us today here at Biz Latin Hub for personalized assistance, and check out our short presentation below on how to get a cannabis license in Colombia.
The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.