Here’s What Marijuana Stocks Must Do To Sell Pot From Colombia

Investor’s Business Daily, by Bill Peters, Sept. 23, 2019

As more investors in marijuana stocks turn to Latin America, Colombia has churned out more than 200 cultivation licenses to marijuana companies doing business there. But those companies need to make their way through a labyrinthine approval process before they can legally sell any product domestically or abroad.

After that, the process of actually exporting cannabis requires a lot of changes to meet requirements of regulators and authorities on both ends of the deal, and even the airline flying the products itself. …

License, Registration, Ph.D. Defense

Marijuana companies can pursue licensing and registration simultaneously. But to get a strain registered, those companies first have to register a seed bank, or, essentially, a collection of seeds. The company then selects a strain from that seed bank to go through a government review process. In that process the government evaluates whether a company can grow that strain consistently. It can take around six months.

“As one of my team members described it, it’s like defending my Ph.D. thesis all over again,” said David Gordon, chief corporate officer of PharmaCielo, a cannabis producer that operates in Colombia. “You had a stack of paper and six months’ growing of each one. It had probably taken two or three years to develop each one.”

If a company passes the government’s review, it gets clearance to register the strain in a national database. Once a company registers a strain, following a few minor, administrative steps, it receives a resolution from regulators that permits them to grow and sell cannabis products based on that strain.

However, companies still have to follow a quota if they want to make and sell psychoactive cannabis products, defined as those that carry more than 1% THC. What’s more, the retail framework for selling cannabis products still isn’t fully defined.

Even though companies play up their licensing in news releases, as of Sept. 18 only eight marijuana companies operating in Colombia have strains registered, according to Colombian government data. Among those companies are PharmaCielo, Clever Leaves, Khiron Life Sciences and Santa Marta Golden Hemp, which is majority owned by Avicanna, headquartered in Canada. …