The medical cannabis industry can help boost employment in Colombia


A recently conducted analysis has shown that the medical cannabis industry could have a positive economic impact and help boost employment in Colombia.

This is fostered by a robust regulatory framework around the medical cannabis industry and the arrival of national and foreign investors, who want to become important players in a global market estimated to be $146bn (€132.35bn~) dollars by 2025.

This extensive study, conducted by the firm EConcept, formed by recognised experts in economics and regulation, examined four main topics to trace the path of how the medical cannabis industry can boost employment and bring economic benefits to the country:

  • The overall global progress of the industry and in Colombia regarding the regulation and the available evidence that make investment and business both feasible and attractive
  • The potential market Colombia would be able to supply, and its huge economic and social benefits
  • The main barriers for the domestic market in Colombia and
  • The perception of the Colombian’s population on this matter.

The study is a contribution to the industry’s development and the government sector, and has been developed with the support of medcann, a Canadian medical cannabis holding, with firm roots in Colombia.

According to the report, the Colombian market, considering a potential cultivation area between 2,000 and 7,000 thousand hectares, will be mainly export-oriented, with exports ranging from $2.3 (€2.08bn~) to $17.7bn (€16.05bn~) dollar depending on the percentile of the distribution of results analysed, offering huge potential for employment in Colombia.

The study was presented by Juan Carlos Echeverry, former minister of Finance, who emphasised the high impact on rural employment in Colombia: “In an optimistic scenario, the number of jobs to be generated by the medicinal cannabis production activity is comparable to that created by the entire plastic manufacturing industry and could amount up to 100,000 new jobs.”

Mauricio Santamaria, who led the ministry of Health for several years, said: “An important contribution of the study is to make visible serious findings from different clinical studies for three specific conditions affecting millions of people around the world including chronic pain, epilepsy syndromes and oncology symptomatology. Definitively, the raison d’être of this industry is to improve the lives of patients suffering these conditions.”

Due to the optimal conditions for inexpensive and sustainable production of medical cannabis in Colombia, this goal can be achieved through the development of therapeutic solutions that are affordable for governments and patients.

This is a game changing position because in many countries, the cost to access cannabis solution, out with reimbursement by national health systems, is extremely high for the patients.

Regarding public perception on the benefits of medicinal cannabis, the study also collected a robust sample of testimonies in the country’s main cities and found a positive appraisal. Tomas Gonzalez, former minister of Mines and Energy and co-author of the study stated: “The therapeutic properties of cannabis are broadly known and most of Colombians welcome its controlled used. But they also claim a definitive role of the State in providing information, effectively regulating and controlling the consumption of medicinal cannabis.”

Co presenters of the study medcann, which is a leading company in the industry’s development in Colombia,  has met some key milestones such as obtaining the first registrations of psychoactive cannabis varieties in 2018 and the first and only psychoactive processing quota to export for commercial purposes in August 2019.

The study is a tool that will provide Colombia the opportunity to take a lead in the global industry, making visible to all stakeholders its competitive advantage. CEO Jon Ruiz stated: “In addition to improving the well-being of a population suffering from diseases related to chronic pain, the country has a unique opportunity to find an additional source of employment, growth, innovation and exports for the economy with huge social impact.”

The study sends a clear message of urgency for regulators in the sense that they must act quickly, boosting the business in the short and medium term, so that future investments will be economically viable.

The study states: ‘It is an invitation to build a coordinated policy path between the Government and the private sector to seize the window of opportunity Colombia has today’.

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