Colombia, with a burgeoning medical marijuana industry, just saw its first international exposition on the subject, marking a step toward normalization of cannabis in a country hit hard by drug war violence over the past generations.
The Medellín Botanical Garden was the scene of the ExpoMedeWeed from November 24 to 27, with workshops and discussions on technical, medical and cultural themes related to expanding Colombia’s legal cannabis sector. The affair won favorable coverage from major Colombian news outlets such as Bogotá daily El Espectador.
The stated aim was to break down the taboo and stigma of criminality that has long surrounded the herb in the conflicted country.
Among the presenters were Ana María Gazmuri of Chile’s Fundación Daya, a leading cannabis advocacy organization in that country; Paulina Bobadilla of Mamá Cultiva, which has been advocating for legal cannabis throughout South America; Lumir Hanus, the acclaimed Czech cannabis researcher; Paul Hornby of the Canadian herbal analysis company Hedron Analytical; and Paul Stanford of Oregon’s The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation (THCF), who spoke on the industrial applications of the crop.
In November, 14 licenses were given to medical marijuana business by Colombia’s Health Ministry. But there has been concern about foreign capital flooding the nascent legal cannabis sector in “green gold rush,” with traditional peasant growers—who bore the brunt of drug war repression—being squeezed from the market.
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