International cannabis companies are showing interest in Brazil, both for its large consumer market for medicinal products and a proposal that could legalize planting of the crop.
Major producers like Colombia’s Clever Leaves and Canada’s Canopy Growth are developing and selling medicinal cannabis products to a Brazilian consumer segment estimated at 10 to 13 million people. This results from a 2019 regulatory change allowing the import, sale and manufacturing of such products.
But permission for cultivation of hemp and cannabis in Brazil would be a bigger prize. If granted, the industry could blossom in four to five years, based on the experience of other countries such as Colombia.
“By 2025, I would like to be planting hemp in the interior of Pernambuco,” said José Bacellar, founder of Canada’s VerdeMed, referring to a northeastern state known for illegal marijuana growing.
A proposal that would legalize cultivation was approved in June by a congressional committee. Lawmakers are weighing if it could be fast-tracked to the Senate for approval. If passed there, President Jair Bolsonaro would have to sign it into law.
While Bolsonaro’s far-right positions may seem an unlikely match for the bill, the proposal has support from some members of the powerful farm sector, a key constituency that helped him win the 2018 election.
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