Cultivating and selling cannabis for medical and/or scientific purposes is an incipient industry in Colombia, which has been regulated since 2016, under Law 1787 of that year, precisely allowing for the cultivation and processing of cannabis and its derivatives in medical products. Subsequently, Decree 613 of 2017 was issued establishing the conditions for these practices. This year, the Government enacted Decree 811 of 2021, replacing the 217 Decree, implementing updated provisions required by this industry, while also filling in the voids of the previous regulation.
Despite the recent regulation and development of this industry in Colombia, there is evidently great potential for its establishment as a key economic sector in the country, given the following considerations: the existence of free trade agreements with key countries to export medical cannabis; local weather conditions; available qualified labor at competitive prices; and large areas of land that can be used for crops.
In order to participate in this industry in Colombia, interested parties must first obtain certain licenses, generally granted for a 10-year period as of Decree 811 of 2021, that may be extended for an equal term, but cannot be transferred to third parties once obtained. Depending on the type of activity to be developed, interested parties must obtain one or more of the following licenses:
- License to use cannabis seeds and grain, issued by the Ministry of Justice and Law.
- License to cultivate psychoactive cannabis plants, issued by the Ministry of Justice and Law.
- License to cultivate non-psychoactive cannabis plants, issued by the Ministry of Justice and Law.
- Extraordinary license to cultivate cannabis plants, issued by the Ministry of Justice and Law.
- License to manufacture psychoactive cannabis derivatives, issued by the National Institute for Drug and Food Surveillance (Invima for its initials in Spanish).
- License to manufacture non-psychoactive cannabis derivatives, issued by the Invima.
- Extraordinary license to manufacture cannabis derivatives, issued by the Invima.