After Colombia’s government issued long-awaited regulations on legal cannabis cultivation for the medical market, the southern region of Cauca is anticipating a boom—and a fight for the soul of the nascent industry.
On April 10, the Health Ministry released Decree 613, finally implementing Colombia’s promised medical marijuana program. The decree guarantees “secure and informed” access to cannabis seeds by licensed companies, fully implementing the program established in principle by Law 1787, which was passed in July 2016.
Producers have already been licensed in Colombia, but the new regulations allow them to actually begin cultivation. Several license applications are pending in Cauca, where legalization has become a demand of the region’s militant campesino movement.
Since the decree was signed, three more companies have said they are ready to apply for cultivation licenses in the Cauca municipality of Corinto—named as FarmaCielo, One Colombia and Biominerales Farma.
Corinto’s Mayor Edward García said the companies “are already establishing relations with social organizations, with cultivators, to begin work in this medical marijuana initiative.”
The coming months will determine the relations between these companies and the small peasant producers who are looking to the new legal cannabis economy as a path out of poverty.