When you think of Colombia, a bastion of progressive marijuana laws may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Medicine Man Technologies has seen this country make a number of moves that may help to further de-stigmatize marijuana around the world. So, let’s clear a few things up and take a look at the latest round of updates from this South American nation.
You may be surprised to hear that back in 1986, Colombia enacted a law that classified marijuana as medicinal and legalized the manufacture, sale, export, medical and scientific use of the plant. And, in 2012 – two years before Colorado officially legalized recreational marijuana, Colombia decriminalized the private use of marijuana, allowing you to possess up to 20 grams of flower and grow up to 20 plants with no legal consequences. And despite recreational sales still being outlawed, home grows are far easier thanks to Colombia’s extended hours of sunlight and tropical climate.
While the original medical marijuana laws went into effect without official infrastructure or rules, the Colombian government passed a revised law in 2015 that will further regulate consumption, cultivation, marketing, purchase and sale, as well as create the ability to import and export product internationally. The decree became official once signed by Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos. In a statement to the media at the time, Santos said the new regulations, “represent a major step that put Colombia at the vanguard and forefront of the fight against illnesses.”
Colombia joins just two other countries, Canada and Israel, in the legal medical marijuana trade. This presents a huge opportunity for growers and Colombia’s economy.
About the 2015 Medical Marijuana Law
Since the decree, several government agencies, including the National Narcotics Council and Ministry of Health and Social Protection, have been working on structuring Colombia’s legal medical marijuana industry. Their goal is to provide legal protection for companies that cultivate, produce, sell and export medicinal products, as well as enable the designated government agencies to oversee all commercial operations for safety and compliance with established regulations.
Currently, the market will only focus on marijuana extracts for medicinal purposes, mostly topicals and oils. While there is no official list of qualifying medical conditions at this point, patient prescriptions are regularly given on a compassionate basis. As for strength, the new rules allow the sale of THC products in both high and low potencies with no CBD limitations.
For those enterprises looking to enter the market, permits and licensing for cultivation and production will be issued by the National Narcotics Council and Ministry of Health and Social Protection. The health agency will also provide the required permits to export products to countries where it’s legal.
Along with a basic framework for the industry, Colombia will also implement further research into the medicinal properties of marijuana and set up prevention and other social programs to protect children and pregnant/nursing mothers from use or being involved in production and transport. Like many other countries, use of any medical or home-grown marijuana is prohibited in public and work environments.
As you can see, Colombia certainly has a history of progressive marijuana laws and continues to make big strides in creating a sustainable and healthy medical cannabis industry. The team at Medicine Man Technologies will be sure to provide further updates. And if you wish to start an enterprise in Colombia or here in the United States, please get in touch with us for guidance every step of the way. We offer both private consulting as well as host a number of seminars throughout the year.