Why The Future Marijuana Superpower Could Come From This Region

Investors Business Daily, by Bill Peters, Sept. 19, 2019

When PharmaCielo, now a publicly traded company, formed in 2014 to cultivate medical cannabis in Colombia, some growers needed convincing. Some came from families that farmed chrysanthemums for generations. Cannabis was largely illegal and stigmatized. Scars from the nation’s decades-long drug war were fresh. A peace deal between the government and leftist FARC rebels was two years away. North America’s marijuana stocks boom had not begun.

Talks with indigenous communities, regulators, the military and police took a couple of years. And after all that, PharmaCielo, which joined other marijuana stocks on the Canadian exchanges this year, has yet to report a dollar in commercial cannabis sales. But it is far from alone in its South American aspirations. Other marijuana companies are betting the region will supply the world with outdoor-grown cannabis at a fraction of North America’s costs. The upshot: The greenhouses and fields spreading fast in the U.S. and Canada may not last. …

For now, PharmaCielo is only cultivating CBD plants, which have easier export regulations, with plans to sell products based on those plants in nations where it’s legal abroad. It relies on its own facilities for cultivation but hopes to eventually fatten capacity by contracting with outside farmers.

Under that system, which Chief Corporate Officer David Gordon said was similar to the tobacco industry, PharmaCielo would own the plants. The farmers would grow those plants, harvest them and return them for processing. At least that’s the plan. PharmaCielo had zero commercial sales in Q2. But Gordon expected some to trickle in during the second half of this year, with more next year. …

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