Ecuador is not the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of cannabis reform, either regionally or internationally. However, it is clear that the country is transitioning to the global medical cannabis market in an orderly manner.
This week, on Tuesday, AYA Natural and Medicinal Products in Ecuador make a move to start the first factory in the country and regulated production.
The opening was promising in the presence of officials from the company, the ministries of production, foreign trade, investment and fisheries, the National Institute for Popular and Solidarity Economy and the Undersecretary of Production and Industry. Regardless of who might notice, this is clearly a coordinated effort and a major government decision to support the domestic medical cannabis industry and another industry with global aspirations.
Not surprising, given the fact that their neighbors, including Colombia and Peru, are already in the regional if not international supply chain.
The case of cannabis reform in Ecuador
This small country on the left coast of South America, bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the south, Brazil to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, has quietly advanced its cannabis reform in an interesting way. In 2008, the country’s constitution, consumption of “drugs”, including cannabis, is no longer a criminal issue but a public health issue. As a result, cannabis is legal here for personal consumption with a maximum of 10 grams. However, the sale of cannabis is still prohibited unless it is for medicinal purposes.
In 2016, lawmakers for the first time proposed the formalization and legalization of the industry nationwide. Ecuador’s National Assembly later legalized medical use in late 2018 by a majority of 83-23. However it was not even late 2019 when The Basic Law Amending the Comprehensive Basic Criminal Law Posted in June 2020 When the reform of the Basic Law for the comprehensive prevention of the socio-economic phenomenon of medicines, regulation and control of the use of listed substances subject to control laws was passed, the industry finally had a legal leg to stand on.
At that point the initial interest locally was to create hemp rather than a high THC industry but, like other places, the reform came, and it shifted again. It is clear that COVID has also played a role in delaying developments, but this period appears to be drawing to a crucial end.
Like many of its neighbors in Central and South America, the climate here is beneficial for outdoor cultivation. This is due in large part to its proximity to the equator. An extended coastline has always been an advantage for the export of commodity crops if hemp products are not manufactured elsewhere. This includes North America, but may increasingly include Central and South America As cross-border trade begins to open up between countries as rationing takes hold across the continent. It is fairly clear that Europe is also in the sights of the government, as well as countries like Australia, which have started importing medicinal cannabis from elsewhere.
The news also comes as Costa Rica moves ahead with regulating its own cannabis and medical cannabis industry (literally the same day) and as Zimbabwe opens its first cannabis processing facility.
To be sure, the race is on to grow, produce and distribute medical cannabis and the medicines that come from it.
The new commodity crop in the developing world?
As more and more countries get the error of rationing, especially in search of sustainable economic re-development as well and it deserves a great deal as a medicinal product for export, expect to see not only a global glut in medical production, but also, finally, price reductions in target destinations, including This includes those in Europe (France and Germany in particular) but also in places like the United Kingdom.
How and where cannabis production in Central and South America will decline in all of this is another question, especially in Competition with Africa (Especially for the European and Israeli markets) But it is clear that the region is putting the war on drugs of the last century behind and opening itself to new possibilities with the scent of cannabis.