What does it take to become a licensed cannabis grower in Colombia?
Colombia’s weather is ideal for cannabis cultivation. Many are now wondering how to get a cannabis license in Colombia. Although it is among the first Latin American countries to legalize and regulate medical cannabis for the purpose of domestic and export markets, no medical cannabis products are actually available in the domestic Colombian market as of 2019 . Most companies are still in the research and development stage but some companies are selling cosmetics and CBD products domestically. CBD is also being exported from Colombia, but cannabis exports have yet to take place.
Medical Marijuana Legalization in Colombia
In 2016, Colombia passed Law 1787 which legalized medical marijuana products and established a regulatory framework through Decree 613 in 2017. Decree 613 established licensing for manufacturing cannabis derivatives, cultivating cannabis and hemp, sourcing cannabis seeds, and distributing medical cannabis products.
In July 2021, Reuters reported that Colombian President Ivan Duque signed Decree 811, which lifted the ban on exporting dried cannabis. The decree also expands cannabis sales and streamlines regulatory procedures. Recreation cannabis use remains illegal in Colombia.
This is a big step as Latin American cannabis exports have the potential to be a $6 billion market. Since Latin American countries have a natural environment that supports lower-cost cannabis cultivation, their exports could reduce the need for more intensive cultivation practices in nations like Canada. Exports can also serve nations that are new to the cannabis market and lack domestic production, such as Argentina.
…One gram of cannabis flower in Colombia cost less than $0.50 to produce, while in Canada the cost tends to be more than over US$1.00.-from Cannabis Business Times, “Colombia Authorizes Exports of Dried Cannabis Flower for Medicine“
How to Get Your Cannabis Cultivation License in Colombia
In Colombia, there are four types of cannabis licenses that are controlled by the Justice Ministry, Health Ministry, and the National Direction of Psychotropics of Colombia. These governing agencies are responsible for granting cannabis licenses. ICA and INVIMA may also be involved depending on the license type. The four types of cannabis licenses available in Colombia are:
- License for the Manufacture of Cannabis Derivatives
- License for the use of Cannabis Seeds for Planting and Crops
- License for the Cultivation of Psychoactive Cannabis Plants
- License for Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Plants Cultivation
Colombian cannabis lawyers explain that along with providing processing fee payments, licensure requires a sworn statement of income n proof of citizenship/immigration card/visa for natural persons or tax ID number for companies. Specific licenses also have specific requirements.
Cannabis Manufacturing Licenses in Colombia
A Colombian license to manufacture cannabis allows you to produce cannabis products for domestic use, export, or scientific research. Cannabis Manufacturing Licenses have basic requirements of providing a real estate registration number or cadastral ID, certification of use, or possession in good faith of the property, if you do not own the property you also must show your rights for use. You also need to submit a security protocol, a cannabis cultivation plan, and a description of equipment and areas.
Cannabis Seed Licenses in Colombia
To sell or distribute cannabis seeds in Colombia, a License for the use of Cannabis Seeds for Planting and Crops is needed. The requirements are the same as for the manufacturing license except no cultivation plan is required.
Cannabis Cultivation Licenses in Colombia
Colombian cannabis cultivation licenses allow you to grow cannabis that will be manufactured. If you want to do the manufacturing, you will need to get a manufacturing license as well as a cannabis cultivation license in Colombia. The manufacturing license needs to be linked to the cultivation license. The License for the Cultivation of Psychoactive Cannabis Plants allows you to grow and store cannabis and allows you to produce seeds for sowing.
To get a Colombian cannabis cultivation license you’ll need to submit all of the general requirements. Like the manufacturing license, you need a real estate registration number or cadastral ID, certification of use, or possession in good faith of the property, if you do not own the property you also must show your rights for use. You’ll also need to have a contract for harvest workers, security protocol, cultivation plan, description of equipment and areas, and a good business plan concept. Cannabis cultivation licenses have an additional requirement for efficacy tests and agronomic evaluation in licensed crops.
Hemp Cultivation Licenses in Colombia
To grow hemp in Colombia, you need a License for Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Plants Cultivation. Requirements for growing hemp in Colombia include certification of use or possession in good faith of the property, description of the property, equipment and areas, description of the varieties of hemp you plan to grow, and accreditation that they are not psychoactive. In Colombia, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that has no more than 1% THC.
Medical Marijuana Regulation in Colombia
In addition to fully reviewing Colombian marijuana laws, people who are interested in becoming a cannabis cultivator in Colombia can reach out to The Colombian Association of Cannabis Industries (ASOCOLCANNA).
- Cannabis Licenses (Law 1787)
- Medical and Scientific Purpose Cannabis (Decree 613)
- Cannabis License Controls (Resolution 577)
- Cost of Cannabis Licenses (Resolution 578)
- SMEs Regulations (Resolution 579)
- Medical and Scientific Use of Cannabis (Resolution 2891)
- Derivatives of Cannabis (Resolution 2892)
- Decree 2106 of 2019
Cannabis Quota System
Colombia has a cannabis quota system that only allows a certain amount of cannabis to be grown and manufactured . Cannabis companies must apply for a quota. To do so they must first register a genetic variety with ICA. Registration involves generating technical information through research. As of 2019, quotas have been issued for research and development purposes only. Commercial quotas are only granted based on legitimate demand, and a certain percentage of cannabis production is reserved for small and mid-sized businesses.
Seed-to-Sale Software for Colombian Cannabis Growers
The Colombian cannabis regulation system is very stringent. Regulators require the use of seed-to-sale cannabis software such as GrowerIQ [1,2]. Producers must keep records of every step in the cultivation and manufacturing process. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are required for security, cultivation, extraction, testing, and transportation. Testing for purity and potency must be conducted through accredited laboratories. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) are expected to be followed.
Looking Forward: Cannabis Licensing in Colombia
Cannabis growers in Colombia are currently sourcing their genetic material from Bulgaria and Canada . While their cannabis market has yet to take off, CBD products are thriving due to the looser regulatory requirements. Cannabis licensing in Colombia is stalled as there is a significant backlog of applicants and a shortage of quotas. Cannabis companies can also expect to face challenges when it comes to real estate and banking. However, the country continues to reform its cannabis laws and regulations to improve its functioning. There is a lot of opportunity for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing in Colombia for companies that have the resources to establish themselves.
Find Out More
GrowerIQ’s seed-to-sale software is a critical system to help you comply with medical marijuana cultivation in Colombia. Our experts can help you create a successful international cannabis venture and strive within any legal framework. To learn more, get in touch with our Cannabis professionals by completing the form below.Speak to a Cannabis Consultant Now
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- Flurez, G., Grisales, L., Quintero, D., Tirado, N. (2020). Global Cannabis Guide Chapters – Colombia. JD Supra. https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/2020-global-cannabis-guide-chapters-34784/
- Pascual, A. (2019). Cannabis in Latin America: The Regulations and Opportunities. Marijuana Business Daily. Retrieved July 24, 2021, from https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Cannabis-in-Latin-America_The-Regulations-and-Opportunities.pdf