The international market for medical cannabis is growing – and visibly new countries are entering the market that allows cultivation and export. Not least because they can take better advantage of their geographical location than the previous top producers. The latest newcomer is Colombia. Clever Leaves already operates a production facility there and had a high-profile visitor there at the end of July: President Iván Duque. He signed a new decree allowing licensed Colombian cannabis companies like Clever Leaves to commercially produce and export medical cannabis flower material. The new law also regulates access to medical cannabis for patients in Colombia.
“This new decree represents an important milestone for Colombia and allows us to compete in international markets,” Duque said. It also raises the standards of domestic products and creates significant added value, especially in the medical sector, he added. “Clever Leaves has served as a benchmark for the Colombian cannabis industry. I encourage our government representatives in the various entities to join together and continue to support the development of the industry.”
“Having President Duque sign this significant decree at our Clever Leaves plantations was a great honor for us and also demonstrates Clever Leaves’ position in Colombia as well as globally,” said Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Clever Leaves. He added that the company has been building the necessary capacity to produce pharmaceutical-grade products since 2016. “This new regulatory development will allow Clever Leaves to better serve pharmaceutical companies and medical cannabis companies around the world.”
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Colombia has a more favorable climate for cannabis production
Until now, Clever Leaves has been producing in a Portuguese production facility, where it has “successfully overcome the various challenges that such an operation faces,” Detwiler said. “We hope that this experience and relationship will enable Clever Leaves to provide the highest quality flowers to patients worldwide.”
The main argument in favor of Colombia, he said, is the far more favorable climatic, geological, and geographic conditions for intensive, high-quality medical cannabis cultivation compared to Canada, the U.S., or even Denmark. The equatorial South American climate makes it possible to effectively grow medicinal cannabis outdoors, he said. Consistent sunlight, constant temperatures, and consistent rainfall are ideal conditions for growing cannabis by nature, he said, making outdoor cultivation possible at Clever Leaves’ plantation.
The addition of Colombian flowers, he said, allows the company to cultivate and offer a comprehensive portfolio covering different strains and growing conditions to meet the ever-changing needs of patients. Clever Leaves is now able to offer its partners a comprehensive medical cannabis product portfolio of extract, isolate and flower products from Colombia and Portugal, he said. Clever Leaves is now present in over 15 countries on five continents.
Clever Leaves said it is placing an emphasis on environmentally sustainable, large-scale cultivation and pharmaceutical processing as the cornerstone of its global cannabis business. With operations and investments in Germany, the U.S., Canada, Colombia, and Portugal, the company has created an effective distribution network and global presence, it said. Clever Leaves has received several international certifications that allow it to increase its export and sales capabilities from its Colombian operations, including GMP, EU GMP, and Good Manufacturing Practice certification from the Colombian National Institute of Food and Drug Control. In Portugal, Clever Leaves obtained a license from Infarmed – the Portuguese health authority – allowing it to grow, import, and export dried flowers for medicinal and research purposes.
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