Many cannabis industry experts and insiders have consistently pointed at South America as one of the most promising places for the cannabis industry. The climate conditions of countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and so on, are particularly suitable for cannabis cultivation, allowing growers there to rely on more sustainable cultivation methods, both from a financial and an environmental standpoint. But what is the story of the cannabis industry in the Southern part of the American continent?
Prohibition Partners has just released the second edition of their “Latin American and Caribbean Cannabis Report”, describing the state of the cannabis industry in South American countries, highlighting the opportunities and the market potential of those countries.
The report explains how, before prohibition times, cannabis cultivation - and hemp specifically – were well rooted in the agricultural culture of countries such as Chile, for instance. Prohibition policies in Chile continued until modern days, with the cultivation of hemp still deemed illegal. Yet, recently a company has started to reintroduce hemp-based products and hasn’t hidden its determination to bring hemp cultivation to Chile – also considering the business potential, as highlighted by Prohibition Partners’ report.
Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay
Yet, two of the most interesting countries when it comes to hemp cultivation surely are Uruguay and Colombia. The level of hemp cultivation knowledge, and its medical applications, is recognized to be particularly high, for a number of reasons: Colombia, for instance, has a rich history in growing ornamentals and flowers, and therefore it could already rely on a highly-skilled workforce, which gave companies huge peace of mind when they had to find the laborers they needed for their operation. Another thing that set Colombia apart is the ease of the bureaucratic process: indeed, hemp cultivation requires just one license, compared to the high-THC ‘version’ of the plant.
Paraguay too followed suit in 2019, passing a law that allowed 2 hectares of hemp to be cultivated per family, with an estimate of potentially 50,000 hectares to be planted.
Another interesting country is Mexico, which has been dwelling on cannabis legalization for the past year; but now, it seems as if the government is on its way to legalization, which is expected to happen soon. Yet, there have been some criticisms regarding the proposed law, as hemp is apparently treated the same as cannabis with high THC content.
All in all, there is big potential in the South American cannabis industry, and opportunities seem to be opening up at a consistent pace.