Pharmaceutical

Time is running out for registering your cannabis seeds in Colombia

18/09/2018

Considering that Colombian medical cannabis industry is still at its start, government authorities have identified the need to create a formal deadline for cannabis seed holders to file the registration of their seeds, to later be able to use them in the development of cannabis projects. This is particularly important, since most of the seeds that are currently in Colombia have not been improved through genetic or breeding procedures, which means they are not as stable and refined as it is desired for the medical industry.

To pursue that purpose, Decree 631 of 2018 was issued, creating the figure of “Fuente semillera”, opening up a window so cannabis seeds that are in Colombia can be registered without attesting their source, if their application is presented in the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA, after its Spanish initials) before December 31st. “Fuente semillera” was defined by the Decree as “the existing seeds for planting that are already in the Colombian territory and that until December 31, 2018 will be destined exclusively to the production of seeds for planting psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis”

Through the legal figure of “Fuente Semillera”, the government addressed one of the main concerns related to cannabis projects, as after December 31st, industry participants who have not registered their seeds will have no choice but to import seeds or attempt to buy seeds from competitors who do have their seeds registered.  The previously mentioned options are fairly troublesome, as importing seeds requires an international collaboration process that has not been completed yet and buying already registered seeds can be a very expensive and restrictive in terms of the variety of available seeds.

In view of the short time that is left, it is decisive to be well aware of the procedure and requirements for successfully registering the seeds before the ICA, in order to be able to submit the registration application prior due date. 

To register the seeds, an application must be presented, with a data sheet describing the main features of each seed to be registered. Additionally, attach proof that you have the professional assistance of an agricultural engineer with experience on breeding seeds, and a list of the space and equipment that will be used for the storage and planting of the seeds. 

After the application is filed and all the submitted documents are approved, the Colombian Agricultural Institute will set an appointment to an on-site examination, observing that everything that was enlisted on the application is indeed placed and functioning. Once they determine everything is in order, the seeds will be finally registered and can be freely used.

Be well aware that registering “Fuente semillera” is completely different than cannabis licenses obtention. On the one hand, it is possible to register the seeds without holding the administrative licenses and, on the other hand, having the seed registered does not imply permission to develop activities such as growing cannabis, or transforming it to derived products.

In conclusion, with the prerogatives established by the Colombian government, and the issuing of licenses proceeding normally, this year seems to be the ideal time to start cannabis projects, in order to be ready for 2019 market boost for medicinal cannabis products.

 

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