Colombia struggles with an unprecedented INCB decision while American businesses like West Coast Ventures Corp (OTC: WCVC) are thriving thanks to pro-cannabis legislation
Colombia is in for a difficult time because of an unfair INCB decision while America continues to benefit from pro-hemp legislation. In the States companies like West Coast Venture Corp (OTC: WCVC) are taking advantage of a friendly legislative environment to carve new niches. WCVC is America’s first CBD restaurant stock and has combined high quality locally sourced ingredients with their very own Illegal Brands CBD water and sachets. While American experiences more success stories the INCB is holding Colombia’s cannabis industry back.
Colombia recently informed the INCB that its industry needed 47 tons of medical cannabis for local use, but the INCB, in a decision considered unprecedented, only approved 1.2 tons, just 2.56% of what was expected. In other words, this is the amount that the Board considers the country needs to produce and not the amount that Colombia argued in the information it submitted.
Although, from the outset, it is seen as a direct blow against the industry, the director of the Colombian Association of Medicinal Cannabis Industries (Asocolcanna), Rodrigo Arcila, distorts the story and claims that the decision should be seen as an opportunity for the future of the industry in the country.
“You have to have a lot of peace of mind, you really have to analyze the stages of the industry to see what we are in,” says Arcila, noting that as a company is just starting, there is still a long way to go, because for now there has been progress in licensing and sowing crops, so there is little that is being produced.
As things stand, Arcila recalls, Colombia had requested 40 tons in 2018, but since it did not use them, the INCB considered reducing the quantity. He also gave some peace of mind by pointing out that this decision is only about internal use, that is, and that the country is perfectly free to export to other markets, such as Canada.
In this same line, the Minister of Justice, María Margarita Cabello, stated that the issue of quotas comes down to the fact that the industry is still young and that these quotas may increase in the future.
In addition, she indicated that the Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requested a meeting to the INCB to ask for an increase. “The request has already been presented for 2019”.
Francisco E. Thoumi, a member of the INCB, who explained that in Colombia while many believed there was a cannabis boom this wasn’t the whole truth. According to the expert, since marijuana is conceived as both medicinal and recreational, it is impossible to project the future of production.
Although this amount is approved for domestic use, Thoumi points out that exports are likely to make up the bulk of Colombia’s cannabis market. In particular North America, especially Canada, where both recreational and medical cannabis are legal. There are also opportunities for medicinal export to Europe, where attitudes are relaxing rapidly.
The decision has raised concerns that it could strangle Colombia’s primary engine of growth and sour the views of investors who may have considered the Nascent Colombian industry a safe harbor for their funds during the difficulties facing the now overcrowded North American market.
If North America’s liberalisation is anything to go by the INCB’s decision is likely a mere bump in the road for a sector that is expected to explode globally over the coming years. That being said Colombia, and other Latin American states, needs to improve their legislation to accommodate the needs of the cannabis sector or risk being left behind by Canada and the U.S.