After Canada became the world's largest dried cannabis exporter, it is now concerned about Colombia, which recently instigated some legislative changes that position the country to become the global cannabis export leader, fast approaching.
According to a press release, near-perfect growing conditions, skilled labour, and friendly regulations have underscored Colombia's emergence into the cannabis legal space since the country allowed the production of medical cannabis for the first time, just over five years ago.
However, until now, dehydrated cannabis flowers or buds could only be processed for export as oil or medicinal extract for fear they would end up on the black market.
The new law puts Colombia "ahead in terms of regulatory competitiveness," according to President Duque, who also added that his country will now participate in new markets, including food, beverages, cosmetics, and textiles, as well as pharmaceuticals.
In signing the decree, Duque quoted experts saying that legal cannabis exports will represent a global market of $64 billion by 2024 and noted that cannabis would serve as a tool for "economic reactivation" in post-COVID-19 Colombia.
Colombia's Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz said: "According to a 2019 study in Colombia, the cannabis sector generated 17.3 field jobs per hectare."
The Colombian hierarchy seems determined to leverage the country to global leadership as a legal cannabis exporter to boost the economy and create many jobs.
These circumstances could work in favour of Flora Growth Corp., which focuses on cannabis growing and processing operations in Colombia to supply international markets.
The new ordinance may prove a bonanza for established licensed growers, especially when considering the meagre production costs. The dried cannabis flower represents most sales in countries with more developed markets such as the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia.
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Sunlight and abundant water supply in three pilot plantations on 4.94 acres at Flora's Cosechemos Farm allowed the testing of 30 non-psychoactive (low THC) cannabis varieties and their cultivation techniques' optimisation on a cost basis of just $0.06 per gram.
This compares with $1.89 per gram in North America, calculated using an average of four large North American licensed producers.
Flora's cost is up to 60% less than her closest Colombian counterpart. In response to updated laws in Colombia, Flora promptly signed a letter of intent with an international distributor to supply dried flowers and derivatives immediately after the first commercial harvest and obtain all necessary import licenses.
With this crop, Flora also hopes to begin providing medical cannabis to Australian markets and authorised CBD products through a partnership with Evergreen Pharmacare.
The production of cannabis strains with a high content of CBD is already well underway in Cosechemos, with preparatory work underway to propagate variants with a high content of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.
In addition, an extraction laboratory to EU-GMP standards is expected to be completed this quarter to achieve EU-GMP certification.
Once Flora receives the necessary documentation for cannabis exports, the company will be positioned to immediately capitalise on the vast global market for dehydrated cannabis flowers, which until then was not available.
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