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Cannabis License Approvals in Colombia up 79% During the First Four Months of 2021

The number of cannabis licenses approved in Colombia has increased by 79% in the first four moths of the year. The new Decree issued by the State made several changes, but there are some parameters that remain the same. According to Catalina Pinilla, partner at Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas, in Colombia cannabis is allowed only for medicinal and scientific purposes



The regulatory framework for cannabis production and commercialization in Colombia has been gaining ground annually. That is evidenced by Government data, which reveal that in the first four-month period of 2021 (January-April) cannabis licenses granted had a growth of 79%. While 95 cannabis licenses were approved this year, during 2020 only 53 licenses were approved in the same period.

After the signing of the Decree allowing the export of dried cannabis flower, the Ministry of Justice stated that the National Government has granted since 2017 around 1,782 permits for the cultivation of plants for medicinal purposes, in addition to the use of seeds for sowing.

“The Decree of Safe and Informed Access to the Use of Cannabis puts Colombia at the forefront of countries such as Paraguay, Uruguay, or Canada. We overcome the stigma to find opportunities and advance in new possibilities for economic development,” said the Minister of Justice, Wilson Ruiz Orejuela, on his Twitter account.

Apropos of the good outlook and economic growth expected to be achieved with this decision, one should not lose sight of the legal considerations for obtaining permits related to the cannabis industry.

Read more about the cannabis industry in Colombia and find the latest cannabis news with the mobile app.

Requirements for cannabis license approvals in Colombia

The new Decree issued by the State made several changes, but there are some parameters that remain the same. According to Catalina Pinilla, partner at Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas, in Colombia cannabis is allowed only for medicinal and scientific purposes. “Within the medicinal uses are medicines and master formulas, which are by medical order and stipulate how much cannabis can be used in a medical input and which laboratories can manufacture it.

Regarding the types of licenses, Siemcol (Siembra Medicinal Colombiana) stated that there are mainly four licenses for the use of cannabis under the legal parameters: use of seeds for planting; license for the cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis plants; psychoactive cannabis crops; and, finally, license for the manufacture of cannabis derivatives.

Diego Márquez, lawyer at Del Hierro Abogados, assured that the requirements for the possession of plants start by having the property delimited. “You cannot ask for a license to eventually do business with cannabis. You must be clear about what you want the license for and delimit the property and the location,” he said.

Likewise, the lawyer recalled that another aspect to take into account is the cultivation plan. “One cannot simply issue a license to cultivate, he must have a plan, in addition to a work organization chart on how the legal entity that develops the activity is structured. It must also be included within the application how the legal person developing the activity is structured,” said Marquez.

Additionally, the requirements include, according to the lawyer’s explanation, a detailed explanation of the tasks to be developed by the employees and cultivation and manufacturing employee, in case the person is going to carry out these activities. “The type of license also varies if the plant to be marketed or produced has THC content or not. If, for example, the plant with psychoactive content is going to be mobilized, there are transport requirements and minimum safety parameters. Everything is very well thought out to protect this type of plants with THC content and how much pressure it generates on the National Government”, added the lawyer.

Companies and individuals who want to venture into the cannabis trade should keep in mind that this is a highly regulated market given Colombia’s history against the production of various drugs. Lawyer Pinilla assured that there is a clear limit: a company will not be able to carry out cultivation, seed commercialization and manufacturing activities without the corresponding license, as there could be consequences such as financial penalties and the destruction of the cannabis and the products that have been derived from its cultivation.

Changes in the new decree

On July 23, a new decree was signed that modifies the regulation of cannabis in the country. About this advance, Minister Ruiz said that since 2019 the National Government was working in technical tables with guilds, companies, academia, and small producers to modify Decree 613 of 2017.

The changes about the new regulation are focused on strengthening the requirements for the granting of licenses, in addition to an anti-corruption commitment to the people who apply for them.


(Featured image by bergslay via Pixabay)

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Eva Wesley is an experienced journalist, market trader, and financial executive. Driven by excellence and a passion to connect with people, she takes pride in writing think pieces that help people decide what to do with their investments. A blockchain enthusiast, she also engages in cryptocurrency trading. Her latest travels have also opened her eyes to other exciting markets, such as aerospace, cannabis, healthcare, and telcos.