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Felipe de la Vega, Medcolcanna Organics Inc. CEO

The cannabis industry boom in Colombia

Colombia is a very nice place, and not only for the food, people, and the miles of shores with white sand. When it comes to growing medical cannabis, the country is poised to become one of the major players in the global competition. Medcolcanna Organics is a company that grows, extracts, processes and produces medical formulations there. Felipe de la Vega, CEO of the company, is very confident that Colombia will represent a strong competitor for big players like the US or Canada. “Right now, the industry is booming,” Felipe says. “There is a very high demand for these types of products. However, in order to be successful, it is of the utmost importance to be constantly aware that this is a very controlled industry.” Indeed, according to Felipe, authorities did not expect the medical cannabis industry to become this attractive.

Felipe de la Vega, Medcolcanna Organics CEO

Booming in Colombia
“In Colombia, many entities control the medical cannabis sector, such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice, for instance,” Felipe says. “Because of the involvement of all these institutions, the application process can experience some delays.”

One of the reasons why many people applied for a license in Colombia is the exceptionally good conditions for the growth of cannabis plants. “We have very good weather here,” Felipe remarks. “The climate is quite moderate throughout the year, and we can rely on 12 hours of sunlight per day – which is the perfect time to take the plants to the flowering stage.” Because of the good weather, the Medcolcanna facility has been adapted to these favorable conditions. “We grow our cannabis in a greenhouse made of a special plastic material, which allows us to control different parameters, such as pests, for instance”, Felipe points out. “Additionally, since our weather is quite stable, we do not need any climate control – this is indeed a semi-open structure. To put it bluntly, there are numerous advantages with regards to the growing conditions, here in Colombia.”

The Colombian advantage
Of course, the cultivars that are grown in Colombia are special in that they have adapted themselves to the Colombian climate conditions. “Humidity is high here,” Felipe says. “But there are many local strains in Colombia that have adapted themselves to these conditions.”

Another major advantage of Colombia, according to Felipe, is the great expertise the Colombians have when it comes to growing in controlled environments, as history has showed. “Our country has a long history within the flower sector, from which many services were created,” he claims. “Therefore, we have our own greenhouse industry, for instance. But mainly, we have a lot of workforce – cheap labor workforce – who are also very well trained in this type of business. In other words, we have high standards and a lot of knowledge.”

Only end-products export allowed
According to Colombian regulations, growers are not allowed to sell or to export flowers. “We can only market end products. And this is exactly where Medcolcanna comes into play,” Felipe says. “We are going to develop specific formulations for specific conditions. We want to provide patients with the right medicine for their specific situation. That’s why we are doing a lot of research, also in collaboration with Groningen University in the Netherlands, so that we can understand what are the terpenes and the cannabinoids that treat this or that condition. We will also be conducting clinical trials, so that we can narrow down specific formulations with a very specific dosage, in order to deliver to patients what they actually need.”

Thus, the situation seems promising in Colombia, especially according to Felipe, who is very enthusiastic for what lies ahead, in the future. “Colombia has a very good opportunity on developing the final product, with very high standards. We have an industry that has all the opportunities to develop final products, there is a lot of technology and research that’s going into this venture. Only positive things can come from that.”

For more information:
Medcolcanna Organics Inc.
Cra 49b # 93-62
Bogotá, Colombia
[email protected]