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What Are the Obstacles Affecting the Cannabis Industry in Colombia?

One obstacle that is affecting the cannabis industry in Colombia is the lack of bank loans. According to Analdex, regarding the increase in cannabis exports, it is evident that there was an increase of more than 3,000% between 2019 and 2022. During 2022, the country had a growth of 89.1% compared to 2021, i.e., it managed to make total exports of 9.6 million. This is also evidenced by Dane and ProColombia.



On May 6th, the Global March for the Liberation of Marijuana took place. Colombia was not left out of the event, so the promoters of movements that seek free and safe cannabis consumption in the country set meeting points to make a massive call to the need for action by the State. In the midst of the situation, experts on the subject have expressed their main concerns regarding the progress of the processes surrounding the use and commercialization of cannabis in the country.

According to what was said by the president of the Colombian Association of Cannabis Industries (Asocolcanna), Miguel Samper Strouss, in an interview given to Bloomerang Línea, the situation of cannabis companies ‘is critical’. “You could say that the cannabis industry is in intensive care,” he stressed in his talk with the aforementioned news portal.

“Those who are part of this industry fear that the cure will be worse than the disease and that all licenses will be released, which would generate a lack of control in production and problems when exporting easily because they would not meet the quality standards demanded by the countries that buy the product,” added Miguel Samper, in testimonies rescued by the RCN channel news program.

Out of 57 thousand hectares licensed for psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis, the expert explained, only 26 are being planted. In addition, about 40% of the companies that managed to get their license in the last seven years have stopped their operations. This is without taking into account the delays in the registrations that must be carried out with the Invima (National Institute for the Surveillance of Medicines and Food).

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One obstacle that is affecting the cannabis industry in Colombia is the lack of bank loans

“The delays in the registrations with Invima, as well as the delay of the National Narcotics Fund, which can take between 2 and 3 months to approve an export certification for phytotherapeutic products, are situations that have generated considerable losses for the sector”, added Diego Ruiz, director of Regulatory Affairs of FCM Global, in a statement drafted by Analdex, the National Association of Foreign Trade.

This same expert assured that although the Government is putting several of its efforts to export dried flowers and seeds, “others such as phytotherapeutic products are being left behind.”

According to what Willam Calderón, president of the Santander Cannabis Association, revealed, another obstacle to which they are exposed is the lack of bank credits. “For example, the Agrarian Bank lends to cannabis entrepreneurs, but the requirement is that they have within their assets an amount not less than 3 billion pesos. Very few entrepreneurs have that kind of equity to access credits and this is another factor that has slowed down the industry in Colombia,” he said in a conversation with RCN News.

In fact, Rodrigo Patiño, regional manager of Antioquia of Analdex, added to this testimony, assuring that “we must continue working on the mechanisms of bankarization, since there is a lack of an adequate offer of inclusion in the financial system, due to multiple factors of these so-called sensitive industries in terms of risk. For this sector, having a bank account that allows foreign currency withdrawals is quite an odyssey and great efforts and investments have to be made in terms of compliance in order not to lose it. Nothing is gained if we sell abroad and we have no way to bring in the foreign currency”.

According to Analdex, regarding the increase in exports of this product, it is evident that there was an increase of more than 3,000% between 2019 and 2022. During 2022, the country had a growth of 89.1% compared to 2021, i.e., it managed to make total exports of 9.6 million. This is also evidenced by Dane and ProColombia.

Among the countries that bought the most Colombian medical cannabis in 2022 are Argentina with $3.8 million, Brazil ($1.3 million), Australia ($1.3 million), Germany ($649,640), Switzerland ($595,549), and the United States ($552754).


(Featured image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

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Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.