The challenges that come along with cannabis investments in Colombia17/07/2018
1.The things that have been said about Colombia and the things that haven’t
By now, it is known that Colombia has become one of the hotspots for cannabis investors worldwide, as it has plenty of beneficial conditions for the cultivating and harvest of cannabis plants. Additionally, the current legal framework for cannabis regulation has establishes and fully regulated the possibility to acquire an administrative license.
However, even when all of these benefits mentioned before are certain, if you are looking forward to starting a cannabis projects in Colombia (and even if you currently have a project running) there are some legal and technical challenges you should be aware of, so you are properly equipped with the necessary tools to face them.
2. The legal challenges of developing cannabis projects in Colombia
A challenge you could face if you do not choose your cultivating land wisely, has to do with the civil actions Colombian citizens could make use of if they feel a collective right is being potentially threatened (by filling a class action) or has been already damaged (by filing a group action) by a cannabis project running near them. Therefore, this is a scenario that must be contemplated from the very start of a cannabis project in order to successfully avoid it, having in mind that this happens only in the most complex locations in Colombia. If their civil action is successful, you could either be ordered to make fundamental changes in the project or even to stop the project altogether.
This is particularly risky since the content of the collective rights are not well defined, and a wide interpretation of these rights (the protection of found public security or healthiness, the national heritage, the public space, the morality of public administration, the environmental pollution and the development of a free market) could fit an incredibly large number of premises for determining citizens’ rights are being violated or are in reasonable damage of being so.
To avoid facing this challenge, it is crucial that you run not only financial and agricultural studies, but social studies in order to successfully avoid conflicts with the local communities.
3. The main current technical challenge of developing cannabis projects in Colombia
Even when it is widely known that Colombia’s location and tropical weather is ideal for all sorts of cultivations, there is still one significant challenge the cannabis industry is facing here: the cannabis seed obtention.
Even when Colombia currently has plenty of cannabis plants and seeds, most of the varieties that can be found are not as stable as it is desired for the worldwide cannabis industry.
Furthermore, in order to import the seeds, the Colombian authorities must exchange technical information with other countries’ sanitary authorities for safety purposes. Though these exchanges of information are currently in progress, Colombian authorities are very interested in being open to the seed market.
Finally, Colombia’s government has opened a window until December 31, 2018, that allows companies to register and use the seeds they currently have in the country, with the purpose of boosting the cannabis industry. This is called “Fuente semillera”, and its regulation, conditions, and application are somewhat complex, but handling them well could be the key to a quick start in the market.
4. The scenario Colombia is going through and how to minimize your risks
Even when cannabis investment has been growing for several months now, there is still an overall poor knowledge of the many implications a legal cannabis projects could have, taking into consideration that the popular perception is still adapting to the concept of legal cannabis and that not many of the personnel you hire will have cannabis project experience and probably will not know how to face certain challenges.
So, as many benefits Colombia has when it comes to legal cannabis projects, you must be well informed of all the current and potential situations and challenges you could face and have a proper legal and technical consultancy not only to face unforeseen situations, but to build a functional complete protocol you can rely on that allows you to be ready for most case scenarios.