The legalization of medicinal marijuana creates great opportunities in Colombia

Colombia’s Congress adopted last year the Law 1787 of 2016 that legalizes the marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes. This law was regulated later by Decree 613 of April 10, 2017. This new legal framework allows the commercial cultivation, processing and export of medical marijuana products — like oils and creams - changing the previous regulation from repressive to more public health oriented.

The government is aiming to create a legal opportunity in an industry historically controlled by the black market. It is expected that the new law will also help to attract investment creating great business opportunities in the country.

According to this new legal framework, applicants must: 1) register with the National Narcotics Fund – Fondo Nacional de Estupefacientes -; 2) supply personal identification and; 3) submit a production and manufacturing plan. The processing of a completed application takes about 30 days.

While the Ministry of Health is responsible for issuing cannabis production and manufacturing licenses, the National Narcotics Fund is responsible for issuing seed possession and crop authorization licenses.

Note that the granting of the license does not authorize the holder to use the derivative as final product in the national market. For such purpose he will have to apply for a sanitary registration with the National Institute of Drug and Food Surveillance – INVIMA-.

To date, the government has issued six licenses to the following companies: Pharmacielo (Canada/Colombia); Cannavida (Canada); Econabis (Colombia); Ecomedics (Colombia); Cannalivio (Colombia) y Pideka (Colombia).

An important fact is that, in order to promote activities of greater added value to this new industry it will not be possible to export the raw material (cannabis flower) without processing.

This new legal framework is expected to creates great opportunities for foreign companies interested in exporting inputs and knowledge to Colombia or in investing in that promising sector.

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