A intense scent hangs in the air at the 15-hectare La Chacra medicinal cannabis farm in central Colombia, where marijuana plants blossom in the warm closeness of its huge, heavily-secured greenhouse.
It is one of the world’s biggest crops, but the farm, run by cannabis company Clever Leaves, has only managed to export a few marijuana derivatives because of the tight regulations threatening to choke Colombia’s ganja industry.
Colombia was one of the first countries to regulate the cultivation, commercialization and export of marijuana products. But businesses that invested in cannabis complain delays in regulatory adjustments are stemming exports and discouraging potential investors.
The problem is especially serious given competition from other Latin American countries like Uruguay, they say.
Clever Leaves, which has investors from the United States and runs the farm in the central province of Boyaca as well as a sophisticated laboratory outside of the capital Bogota, sent 360 grams (12.7 ounces) of dried marijuana to Canada in February – the first legal export of cannabis from Colombia. In July, it dispatched a 6,000-bottle shipment of supplements to London.
Colombian-Canadian growers PharmaCielo exported a similar quantity of derivatives to Switzerland at around the same time, after three years in business. [Read more at Reuters]