By Carl Haffner Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer, of UK firm Avida Global Ltd and Chief Executive Officer, Avida Global SAS
FOLLOWING the recent announcement by President Duque to allow for the export of cannabis flower from Colombia the country is at the precipice of huge growth – and is now moving into its second Cannabis development phase after the first, when licensing laws were passed in 2017.
This new phase will allow not just the export of quality homegrown flower for medical and R&D uses, but the freeing up of commercial use within Colombia. Prior to this, the country was limited to cosmetic products and magistral preparations.
Now there are opportunities for food and beverage, front of counter, nutraceuticals, and veterinary etc. Plus, more freedom over advertising which will no doubt result in a move towards greater acceptance and adoption in the country.
The eyes of the world are once again looking at how Colombia can develop. It’s true that the cost of production is cheaper in the country than most and this therefore gives producers a distinct advantage in the price they charge for dried flower.
However, as more producers in the country obtain EU GMP certification, not only will they reap the advantages of growing in one of the best places in the world, with its cost based and crucially skills-based advantages, the quality of product will start to outpace the rest of the world.
At Avida Global, we are uniquely located in North-East Colombia so benefit from advantageous growing conditions, which along with our production processes, enables us to produce a consistent quality product throughout the year.
We are on track for EU GMP certification later this year, so this new government focus couldn’t have been better timed in making Colombia the go to place for a class leading product.
By allowing quality to filter down from pharma-grade cannabis oils into the range of cannabis products in the marketplace, consumers can have comfort in the knowledge that Colombian cannabis means quality and consistency, which equals safety.
Exporting is a large part of the plan for Colombia, but the local market is now opening up and the desire to use safe cannabis products by the populace is huge. So once again, the focus is on setting a benchmark so consumers can be assured of a quality product when making their purchasing decisions.
All in all, the future is very bright now for Colombian cannabis. As producers, we want to promote the virtues of our products and the industry at large, so it’s great that we can shout about it right here where we are based in Colombia!
Henning von Koss, CEO of PharmaCielo
AMONGST the various regulatory changes included in Decree 811 recently signed by Colombia’s President Duque, there are a few that have the highest potential to positively impact the industry.
Firstly, the Decree brings CBD to additional market segments beyond medicinal-only purposes. It enables and expands the commercialization and industrial use of CBD in Colombia as an input ingredient in health, wellness, cosmetics, and functional foods categories.
For PharmaCielo it means a broader pool of clients and prospects in these segments that we can work with to facilitate the development of new and innovative end-user products for local consumption and export, as well as to become the preferred supplier for the main active ingredient.
Today, we already export CBD extracts to the UK on an ongoing basis and made initial shipments of extracts to other European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, to name a few.
The new regulations augment the options we will have to reach international markets not only with direct B2B sale of extracts, but also as part of finished products manufactured in Colombia and exported globally by CPG vendors, with ‘PharmaCielo Inside’ as the key active ingredient.
On the dry flower exportation front, PharmaCielo is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the regulatory changes. Like with any medical product, consistency and uniformity are key.
One of PharmaCielo’s differentiators is that our cultivation is based on an in-vitro tissue culture propagation which ensures the precise cloning of the mother plant over time.
This means a uniform and consistent product – the flower’s chemical profile and content – every time and over time. PharmaCielo’s state-of-the-art cultivation facility, labs and experience enable us to produce consistent high-quality products at an industrial scale.
At the same time, it is important to note that dry flower exportation won’t happen overnight. The Decree is only the beginning of the process.
There are many other considerations that come into place also on the macro level and industry-wide.
In an analogy to the cut-flower industry, that Colombia is known to be a global leader, the cut-flower is the final product, not an intermediate that requires further processing, so it holds the highest economic value.
Similarly, with any future export of dry cannabis flower as a medical end-product, the goal is to ensure the sustainability of the industry and to ensure it doesn’t become an agricultural commodity, but a high-value product.
Numerous technical and conceptual aspects need to be discussed and addressed by the regulator and industry players before dry flower will be exported.