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Getting Colombia out of the cannabis ban will boost the cannabis sector

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In a sharp turn away from embargo-based policy, Colombia will seek to benefit from small-scale cannabis producers and agricultural cooperatives, according to a government plan under recently elected President Gustavo Petro.

Petro, a former rebel of the M-19 guerrilla group and longtime lawmaker, won Colombia’s presidential election last Sunday, cheering cannabis and marijuana interests who hope the new president can implement a plan to transform the country from a drug state to a more narco-state positive. Policies towards hemp, coca and poppies.

according to the plan: “The cannabis value chain will receive a special boost, in the hands of producers, by linking industry and knowledge, as well as diversifying uses in medicine, textiles and food, among others.”

The plan proposes that the strategy is a fundamental shift in the fight against illegal economies that will position Colombia as a cannabis-producing power through avant-garde policies that take advantage of everything the plant has to offer.

Export Possibility

Envisioning an improved framework that favors producer families and cooperatives through special permit concessions and technical support aimed at boosting the fortunes of agriculture while generating tax revenue for the state, the plan calls for clear regulations, strong research, and the promotion of cannabis-based products through collaboration between state, private operators and communities.

“In return, spaces will be opened up in international trade with a variety of products derived from (cannabis),” according to the 54-page plan, which addresses the broader Colombian economy and society.

Rejecting previous drug policies rooted in criminalization, the plan notes that “Prohibition’s focus in dealing with the world drug problem has imposed a war on Colombia over the illegal economies of coca, poppies, and cannabis.”

‘The war failed’

“This war has failed and the country needs to move towards a new paradigm that combines global will with that of Latin America towards a coordinated international agenda based on human rights, peace building and economic transformation of productive environments without criminalizing farmers, nature protection, regulation, judicial subordination to criminal organizations, and a consumerist approach As a public health issue,” the plan notes.

Colombia enacted a law late last year separating low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis from medical marijuana and officially removed industrial hemp from the country’s drug list. This was followed in February by systems which set a two-tiered system for maximum THC levels, with maximum grain and fiber yields at 0.3%, while flower production, which is commonly processed into CBD, came in below the 1.0% THC barrier.

Potential in CBD

A 1.0% THC limit for cannabis flowers should facilitate the CBD sector in Colombia because the CBD in cannabis plants rises in proportion to the THC. An increasing number of Latin American and Asian countries are moving towards the 1.0% barrier of the generally observed global limit of 0.3%, giving them efficiencies in CBD production.

Colombia also earlier this year put it in place International trade regulations for medical marijuana, CBD and other cannabis to expand exports.

The Petro government’s development strategy also pledges to move away from over-reliance on fossil fuels, ban aerial spraying of exfoliants such as glyphosate, expand social programs, and impose more taxes on the wealthy.

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