Colombia granted the first license to produce derivatives of cannabis for medicinal purposes in the country to a company based in Canada, reported the Minister of Health, Alejandro Gaviria, on Tuesday.
“The company is being granted the first license for the manufacture and production of medicinal cannabis,” said Gaviria in a press conference, detailing that the recipient company is “a Colombian-Canadian firm” called PharmaCielo.
Licenses are being granted following a decree issued at the end of 2015 by the government, which regulates the cultivation, processing, import, and export of cannabis and its derivatives for therapeutic purposes, and a resolution made by the Ministry of Health in May of this year.
The decree and resolution follow the adoption by Congress, last May, of a law that authorizes the cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and scientists in Colombia. However, according to the Minister, the licenses being granted now “will continue to remain valid” when regulating the new legislation, although “with some changes.”
PharmaCielo, with headquarters in Canada, operates in Colombia in the locality of Rionegro (northwest). In the first stage, they will cultivate approximately three hectares of marijuana to produce a concentrated gross of cannabis, according to information given by the Ministry of Health on its website.
Gaviria explained that this company was the first to get the license, because it was “the firm that made the first request.”
In Colombia, the companies must first by authorized by the Ministry of Health to process medical marijuana and then go to other agencies to obtain a license fo cultivating the cannabis.
“It is a controlled substance, one cannot ask for a cultivation license if it has not been previously specified what they are going to do with the plants that are going to be cultivated,” added Gaviria.
The Minister also explained that the market of medicinal marijuana in Colombia is “open,” so they have not established a “maximum number of licenses” to grant.
“There is an emerging global market… and Colombia may be the winner of this emerging market of medicinal marijuana. This will result in more jobs in our country and greater prosperity for the communities and municipalities where this industry is situated,” among other benefits, he stressed.