Colombia’s medical cannabis ‘green rush’

Pesca, Colombia, Jul 7 (EFE).- Colombia, whose notorious drug trafficking trade is known the world over, is looking to cash in on the growing legal medical cannabis industry by meeting the increasing global demand for the plant and cutting historical ties between the erstwhile illegal narcotic and drug trafficking violence.

Clever Leaves is one of the companies that has gone all in on the industry in central Colombia, where it has been planting cannabis for five years for export to 17 countries.

Every step of the heavily-guarded process is being monitored by software, which tracks how much light and nutrients the plants receive, among other data

“Clever Leaves is a multinational company that is dedicated to the production of medicines and raw materials based on cannabinoids,” the Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Julian Wilches told Efe.

It is “certified with good manufacturing practices of the European Union and the National Institute of Food and Drug Surveillance (Invima),” he added.

The company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange’s Nasdaq index, produces raw materials, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and semi-processed products.

The growing industry is currently stemmed by Colombian legislation banning exports of dried cannabis flowers for medicinal purposes.

Wilches, the former director of Drug Policy at the Ministry of Justice, said regulations needed an overhaul so that Colombia’s medicinal cannabis industry does not fall behind its competitors.

With investments in the industry, the companies create jobs, pay taxes and boost non-mining energy exports, he added.

Last year, during the pandemic, the industry’s exports stood at some $5 million, Wilches said, citing figures from the Colombian cannabis industry association.

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