Artist Julian Majin: Now This Is Cool

In a world where crypto currency, NFTs, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are everyday topics, digital art has also seen a rapid increase in popularity. In the case of Colombia-based Julian Majin, he uses the medium to create futuristic fantasy worlds where cannabis and pop culture collide. Featuring pop icons such as The Beatles and zeitgeist iconography such as the Mona Lisa, Majin assembles engaging scenes that stimulate the mind. 

Majin studied graphic design at the University of Cauca in Colombia and quickly realized how easily he maneuvered and manipulated a variety of digital editing tools. Upon completing his studies, he found work with a creative agency where he continued to refine and develop his practice.

Between his work with the agency and his overall interest in digital art, Majin began to follow similar artists on Instagram. He says he’d “saturate himself in visual art” and recalls one evening after a long day’s work when he sat down at his computer and attempted to create work inspired by some of these artists. His career began as a hobby, as a way to relax and let his creativity flow in ways that he couldn’t in his unfulfilling day job.

Majin then says he noticed that other artists had successfully integrated cannabis into their art, and as a long-time pot smoker himself, he found it only natural to integrate the plant with his work too. “I honestly never thought about incorporating cannabis into my art,” Majin says. He found near-instant success, and his very first cannabis-related piece was shared by American national magazines, which he says led to a stream of consistent work. It was then he knew he had found his niche: Julian Majin was an artist.

Despite the reputation Colombia may have for its affiliation with cocaine, Majin says he’s grateful to live in a country that accepts (and loves) cannabis as much as he does. While there’s still no adult-use cannabis market to speak of in his country, CBD products are produced and marketed as health and wellness products.

“It’s been very helpful in exposing everything Colombia is, not just this stigmatized part of it associated with cartels,” he says. “It shows that there are alternatives and the correct way to utilize this plant.”

Majin says he remains hopeful that with Colombia’s newly elected leader, Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and that nation’s first leftist president, the cannabis industry can finally live up to its potential in his native country.

Majin was able to collaborate with local CBD brand Greenlab to create a series of 5,555 NFTs featuring a variety of unique astronauts in futuristic settings. Each piece incorporates cannabis differently.

“The narrative was that the astronauts would travel to other planets to cultivate cannabis in order to expand the plant’s reach and benefits,” he says of his playful, visual series.

Those who purchased these NFTs were assigned their very own plants in Greenlab’s cultivation. Majin says his customers had the chance to watch the plant grow and mature and even received products made with said plant. Compared to traditional art sales, Majin finds that NFTs are simply more exciting. 

A clearly grateful Majin says he’s excited for the future. Having created so much of his work on an aging computer, his main focus is upgrading his tools to expand his portfolio to include animations, and maybe even video tutorials. Ultimately, Majin is happy to have found success doing something he loves and he, rather surprisingly, thanks the algorithm for turning something that started as a hobby into a full-blown career.

“Maybe it’s luck, too” he says, reflecting on his journey thus far. “But, you know, I’m extremely happy and grateful to be able to be doing this type of work.”

Majin is planning to launch a second series of NFTs soon. But until then, we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled to see what world Julian Majin transports us to next. One thing’s certain: It’ll be worth the wait.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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House of Kush to Go Global with Clever Leaves, Bringing Classic Strains to the Masses

Classic genetics such as Bubba Kush Pre-98 and OG Kush varieties will be available on a global scale, as two powerhouses team up. On September 21, Colombia-based multinational juggernaut Clever Leaves announced a partnership with legacy brand House of Kush, to be the exclusive grower and distributor of genetics globally.

Clever Leaves will produce genetics for House of Kush—thus expanding their reach outside of the United States and Canada.

Clever Leaves will cultivate House of Kush’s genetics at facilities in Colombia and Portugal over the course of the next three years. Clever Leaves’ footprint is global with smokable flower already being sold in Germany, Israel, and Australia.

Clever Leaves will produce House of Kush’s signature strain—Bubba Kush Pre-98—as well as other classics such as San Fernando Valley OG Kush. Different theories abound, but Bubba Kush appeared on the market in the ‘90s, noted by its sedative effects. People have turned to it to help with pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

The scale is massive: In Colombia, Clever Leaves boasts 18 hectares (44.4 acres) of cultivation. More importantly though, the company holds European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU GMP) Certification, a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certification by Colombia National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute – Invima, and Good Agricultural and Collecting Practices (GACP) Certification.

In Portugal, Clever Leaves operates on about nine million square feet of land, with 260,000 square feet of greenhouse facilities. They also have regulatory privilege there with a license from INFARMED I.P., the Portuguese pharmaceutical regulatory authority, with (EU-GMP) certification and are (GACP) certified.

Courtesy House of Kush

House of Kush Genetics

The partnership will deliver House of Kush’s genetics to a wider market. “Going international was really a big step,” says House of Kush co-founder and Chief Sales Officer Steve Gardner. “Clever Leaves do such good work. And we’ve been so impressed with them. And we’ve really been working on this deal for almost a year. But when you get plugged in with a group like that, that can take you all over the place.” Gardner’s roles as serial entrepreneur, advisor, investor in sports and entertainment date back 30 years.

“I would echo that sentiment and also just bring in the point that other countries are more quickly adopting and having more open, flexible laws than what we’re experiencing currently in the U.S.,” says House of Kush co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Reggie Harris. “So having the opportunity to get there early in our growth strategy not only helps us improve our status as a U.S. company, but everybody’s in the game to be able to spread that knowledge and the product and be able to get out there. So [it’s as much of an] exposure type thing as it is a financial benefit as well, that the two kind of go together. It’s not one without the other.” Harris’ background as a senior executive in sports and entertainment goes back two decades.

“Our first introduction to Bubba Kush was actually through Matt Bubba Berger, who was one of the original cultivators, and obviously Bubba Kush was part of that founding group that came up with OG Kush as well,” Harris adds. “And I was looking at it and reached out to Steve [Gardner] and said, ‘You know, I got this interesting call, product opportunity. Let’s go sit down and talk about it.’”

Protecting those genetics is another story. While House of Kush has explored blockchain technology and other ways of protecting their genetics, continuing to develop their reputation as a brand is more valuable.

“The biggest protection for us is quality assurance,” Harris adds. “We’ve created a kush certified program, to where we go through and we tell people, these are the recommended ways of growing the genetics, this is the proper way, the proper soil, the proper water, all that type of stuff, because we know ultimately, right now, federally, we can’t protect it, it’s going to be some somebody could take it, we will lose more money trying to defend it, then we will just go on out being better than they are. So we spent a lot of time just trying to have the great genetics and the great SOPs around that to make sure that it comes out right on the other side and up to our standard.”

Gustavo Escobar / Courtesy Clever Leaves

Regulatory Perks of Going International

Clever Leaves’ footprint is all over the globe, but each facility has a distinctive purpose. “We have two facilities, one in Colombia, one in Portugal,” says Julián Wilches, co-founder and Chief Regulatory Officer of Clever Leaves. “The Portugal facility is focused on flower. And in Colombia, the Colombian facility has been focused on extracts, raw materials, and finished products such as oils. Now, we have the opportunity, also of exporting flower from Colombia, which is something that we plan to do in the coming months. But now it is very important for us and we’re going to have access to additional genetics.”

One of Clever Leaves’ advantages is holding certifications in Europe. But one of the keys to growth is expanding internationally to improve chances of success.

“If you cultivate in the U.S., you cannot export it, because of the federal prohibition in the U.S.,” says Gustavo Escobar, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Clever Leaves. “So the fact that we can cultivate in Colombia and export it for medicinal purposes, opens the global market. We’re focused on four markets in addition to the U.S.: Australia, Israel, Germany, and Brazil. In Brazil, we cannot sell flower. So I would say three markets for flower: Israel, Australia, and Germany. But there are additional markets like Portugal and Italy, U.K., Ireland, most likely France, and Spain. Now we have Thailand. So the world is moving towards medicine and medicinal legalization.”

The partnership benefits both companies in ways that were not possible before.

“Working together, you can do better things,” Wilches adds. “So partnering with people with good genetics, and having the capabilities that were described—that will give us a better opportunity of success in those markets. So we believe in partnerships and we believe in working together and creating long-term relationships for being in the market in the long term with really high quality and good product.”

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Canada Border Agency Seizes Almost 2,000 Pounds of Illegal Cannabis Export

According to a press release from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Aug. 24, the agency announced that it recently seized 592 kilograms (approximately 1,305 pounds) of cannabis in a recent move.

Using a CBSA detector dog in addition to “a wide range of detection tools and technology,” law enforcement was led to 1,036 vacuum-sealed bags of “suspected cannabis” bound for export on May 26. In addition to the first seizure, another was conducted on June 26 which involved 300 kilograms (661 pounds) contained in 100 bags—netting 892 kilograms (almost 2,000 pounds) of cannabis in total between the two seizures.

“Regardless of the mode of entry (air, marine, land, rail), it is illegal to bring cannabis (and cannabis products) into or out of Canada without a valid Health Canada permit or exemption,” the agency wrote in a press release. “CBSA officers have the authority to examine in-bound shipments as well as goods for export. Personal, mail, courier, and commercial shipments are subject to the Customs Act and may be examined for prohibited goods, including cannabis and cannabis products. Avoid seizures, fines or arrest: Don’t bring it into Canada. Don’t take it out of Canada.”

Rahul Coelho, CBSA A/Director, Metro Vancouver District, Pacific Region explained that exportation is only legal for those who have obtained the proper certification. “Although cannabis has been legalized and regulated in Canada, it remains illegal to import or export cannabis and cannabis products without a valid permit or exemption issued by the Government of Canada,” Coelho said. “These significant seizures demonstrate our commitment to intercepting illegal narcotics—at import and export—and contribute directly to disrupting criminal organization activity.”

According to the Canada Cannabis Act, only licensed parties may import or export cannabis in Canada, and “only for medical or scientific purposes.” All individual shipments require a permit, and permit applications are approved on a case-by-case basis.

Cannabis exports for Canada were valued at $53 million in 2020, which according to Prohibition Partners was a 229% increase from 2019 export data. Between 2018-2020, Canada exported 30,000 kilograms (approximately 66,000 pounds) of dried medical cannabis, as well as 35,500 liters (more than 9,000 pounds) of cannabis oil overseas.

Many other countries have legalized cannabis for import and export. Israel, one of the top countries in the world for cannabis research, approved cannabis exportation in May 2020. “This is a significant step for exporters and the Israeli industry, which will enable both expansion of export opportunities as well as rising employment … in the field,” said former Israel Economy Minister Eli Cohen about the decision.

Last year in July, Colombia legalized medical cannabis export as well, specifically for flower. “Colombia starts to play big, and with this decree we are putting ourselves at the forefront in terms of regulatory competitiveness, at least in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Colombian President Ivan Duque. “We are opening the space to do much more in cosmetics … [including] food and beverages and even textiles.” Previously, Colombia approved legislation in 2016 to regulate cannabis production and sales, but exports remained banned until 2021.

A recent study revealed that in Canada, cannabis flower is still the most popular consumption method (according to data collected between 2018-2020). “The findings highlight the rapidly evolving nature of the cannabis product market, including notable shifts in the types of cannabis products used by consumers. … Although dried flower continues to dominate the market, it has begun declining with a notable shift towards increasing popularity of processed cannabis products,” researchers wrote about their findings. After flower, cannabis edibles and vape oils were the second and third most popular during the specified time frame.

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Colombia: Asume Gustavo Petro, Primer Presidente de Izquierda, ¿Cómo Será su Política de Cannabis?

Nota por Nicolás José Rodríguez publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

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Gustavo Petro asumió el domingo la presidencia de Colombia ante cientos de miles de personas que asistieron a la ceremonia de investidura en Bogotá.

El domingo fue un día histórico, ya que el ex senador se convirtió en el primer izquierdista en llegar a la presidencia en Colombia. La fórmula de Petro y Márquez obtuvo más de 11 millones de votos en la segunda vuelta de las elecciones del 19 de junio.

Contenido relacionado: Gustavo Petro, Francia Márquez y la Marihuana: Qué Piensan el Presidente Electo de Colombia y su Vice

Con cantos en las lenguas ancestrales de lxs “mayores” (líderes indígenas) y un gran mandala repleto de elementos de la naturaleza, Petro y Márquez, elegidos por la alianza Pacto Histórico, fueron investidos espiritualmente en la víspera de la investidura formal.

“Les quiero agradecer su presencia en este acto ceremonial. Aquí va a comenzar un gobierno de la paz, de la justicia ambiental, de la justicia social. El poder real está aquí, en el movimiento popular”, dijo Petro a las organizaciones sociales colombianas.

Durante su campaña, Petro prometió un esquema tributario “más progresivo y justo”. Afirmó que su administración buscará recaudar unos USD 11.500 millones y aumentar los recursos del Estado. En las últimas décadas, el país de 50 millones de habitantes se ha visto perjudicado por la inflación, el desempleo y la pobreza (39%).

Asimismo, el nuevo gobierno propone una serie de reformas para reducir la brecha entre ricos y pobres, recaudar impuestos y crear empleos dignos. Y también incluye la legalización del cannabis de uso adulto.

La política de Gustavo Petro sobre cannabis

Durante el acto del domingo, Petro aludió a la política antinarcóticos apoyada financiera y militarmente por Estados Unidos. “La guerra contra las drogas ha dejado un millón de latinoamericanos asesinados, durante estos 40 años, y deja 70 mil norteamericanos muertos por sobredosis cada año. La guerra contra las drogas ha llevado a los Estados a cometer crímenes y ha evaporado el horizonte de la democracia”, dijo.

Contenido relacionado: Cannabis en Colombia: Reescribiendo la Historia (Parte I)

En julio, el senador colombiano Gustavo Bolívar presentó un proyecto de ley para legalizar el cannabis de uso adulto. Con el presidente Petro, favorable al cannabis, el senador Bolívar aseguró que el nuevo proyecto será aprobado.

“El 20 de julio presentó de nuevo el Proyecto de Ley que regula la Marihuana de uso adulto. Con nuestras mayorías vamos a aprobarlo. Dejaremos de matarnos por una planta que en USA produce 25.000 millones de dólares/año y mejora la salud del consumidor”, tuiteó el senador Bolívar.

El propósito de la nueva legislación es crear un marco regulatorio para el cultivo, la producción, el almacenamiento, la transformación, la comercialización y el uso del cannabis y sus derivados para el consumo adulto.

¿Qué opina la industria del cannabis?

Según Luis Merchan, presidente y CEO de Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), uno de los mayores operadores de cannabis en Colombia, se está generando un impulso social y político en el país en torno a la legalización del cannabis para uso adulto. Merchan señaló que el partido de Petro, Pacto Histórico, también tiene mayoría en el Congreso.

“Claramente, el presidente Gustavo Petro es el líder del partido y claramente hay mucho optimismo, [esto es] un impulso positivo hacia la legalización de un marco de uso de cannabis para uso adulto“, dijo Merchan a El Planteo.

Contenido relacionado: Colombia: Así Es el Plan del Presidente Electo para Impulsar el Cannabis y el Cáñamo

Para Andrés Fajardo, CEO de Clever Leaves (NASDAQ: CLVR), una empresa internacional de cannabis con operaciones en la Unión Europea, Norteamérica y Colombia, el momento político del país puede ser adecuado para una reforma legal que aproveche la experiencia local y las ventajas naturales del país para generar empleos dignos y recaudar impuestos.

“Yo pienso personalmente que es un momento propicio para este tipo de propuestas. Colombia aprendió de lo que hizo bien y de lo que hizo mal en términos de regulación del cannabis. Y ahora podemos aplicar estos aprendizajes a la regulación del cannabis de uso adulto. Colombia puede ser proveedora de cannabis de uso adulto para exportación, por costos, clima y geografía, por tener compañías establecidas”, explicó Fajardo en entrevista exclusiva con El Planteo.

Además, al igual que Merchan, resaltó que el proyecto de ley fue presentado por el diputado Gustavo Bolívar y cuenta con el aval de Gustavo Petro, quien está a favor de la legalización del consumo adulto de cannabis. “Colombia será un gran hub y un mercado interno grande de cannabis de uso adulto y yo quisiera ser una plataforma para traer a esos competidores para que participen del mercado y conquistar otros mercados desde aquí; yo lo veo como una simbiosis que genere impuestos y desarrollo económico”, dijo Fajardo.

Vía Benzinga, traducido por El Planteo.

Fotos: Arturo de La Barrera, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons // GUE/NGL, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons // Editadas en Canva por El Planteo.

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Colombian Cannabis Cultivators Face Continued Crackdown

The outcome of the June 19 presidential run-off race in Colombia was going to be unprecedented either way, as it pitted two political “outsiders” who ran anti-establishment campaigns against each other. But the victor, progressive senator (and ex-guerilla leader) Gustavo Petro, made it doubly unprecedented—as he’s now set to become the country’s first president of the left.

Petro won a narrow victory over rival right-wing populist Rodolfo Hernández, a pugnacious construction magnate in the mold of Donald Trump. The pair represented diametrically opposed brands of populism. Petro’s campaign emphasized multiculturalism and ecology as well as more traditional leftist demands for social and economic justice. His running mate Francia Márquez, an Afro-Colombian environmental campaigner, will become the country’s first Black vice president after the Aug. 7 inauguration.

“This story that we’re writing today is a new story for Colombia, for Latin America, for the world,” Petro said in his victory speech at a Bogotá arena. “We’re not going to betray this electorate.”

But despite progress in recent years—a peace process to wind down the internal war, emergence of a legal cannabis sector—Colombia’s drug-war dystopia remains deeply entrenched. Petro will face a challenge in lifting the pressure on small peasant cannabis producers, who have largely been left behind as big greenhouse operations dominate the legal industry.

Corporate or Campesino Cannabis?

The good news is that there is now a consensus on legalized commercial cannabis cultivation nearly across Colombia’s political spectrum. Medical marijuana was legalized in December 2015 by decree of then-president Juan Manuel Santos—who would the following year win the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating peace with the FARC guerillas. Along with the peace deal, 2016 also saw Colombia’s Congress approve commercial cultivation.

Even Santos’ hardline successor, outgoing incumbent Iván Duque, who rejected the peace deal and bottlenecked its implementation, has embraced a commercial cannabis sector. This Feb. 20, Duque signed Resolution 227, expanding commercial licenses and approved uses of cannabis in foods and beverages. He also announced his support for legislation to allow exports.

And this program was enthusiastically embraced by both Petro and Hernández.

Hernández went so far as to say that cannabis could become the “motor” of Colombia’s economy, noting the “great quantity of foreign investment” the sector has received. His campaign cited a study by Colombian think-tank Fedesarrollo finding that cannabis could generate exports of more than $1.7 billion by 2030.

However, on the ongoing armed conflict and narco-violence, Hernández took an extreme hardline position, pledging a “zero impunity” approach to crime. He said he would declare a state of emergency upon taking office and order the security forces to retake areas “where armed actors exercise political and territorial control.”

Petro, in contrast, says he’ll reform the security forces and purge their leadership at the highest levels. He calls the “war on drugs” a failure, and pledges to re-focus enforcement efforts from peasant producers and low-level couriers to the financial and business sectors that facilitate trafficking and launder the proceeds.

And this points to likely differences in their approach to cannabis. Unlike Hernández, Petro didn’t emphasize expanding the cannabis sector as a platform plank. However, when asked about it in an interview with Bogotá newsweekly Semana in March, he responded frankly: “It seems stupid to me to keep marijuana underground, so that the sons of former presidents are entering the business of legal marijuana exportation, while they drop bombs on the campesinos and their sons who produce marijuana in Cauca.”

The southwestern region of Cauca is the traditional heartland of illicit cultivation in Colombia, and hardly coincidentally, one of the regions most impacted by the ongoing armed conflict.

The interviewer pressed Petro on which son of an ex-president is entering the cannabis industry, but he wouldn’t name names. However, rumors reported by the Colombian media have named Martín Santos, son of the former president, as seeking a stake in a prospective cannabis producer called Metódica Consulting.

And certainly the foreign investors hyped by Hernández have poured money into large-scale facilities in the immediate environs of Bogotá—far from peasant production zones of hinterlands like Cauca, where entirely too little has changed.

Eradication, Counterinsurgency Operations Continue

Campesino cannabis cultivation in Cauca remains almost entirely unlicensed—which means the producers have no choice but to sell to criminal networks, which overlap with the armed factions. This, of course, makes them targets for counterinsurgency, as well as ongoing eradication efforts.

On May 11, the army uprooted two cannabis plots in a raid at the hamlet of El Mayo, Toribío municipality, in the Nasa indigenous zone of Cauca. Troops arrived at the remote mountain hamlet by helicopter to seek out illegal crops and found what they were looking for.

The hamlet was visited a few days later by Colombian news site Las 2 Orillas. One local resident told the reporter that the impacted families will go hungry, “since the marijuana plantations are their only means of sustenance or survival.”
Mónica Díaz, a peasant leader in the municipality, emphasized that the local communities have essentially been abandoned by the government—except when it sends in soldiers to eradicate crops. “The army doesn’t agree with us cultivating these plants, but it’s the only way, because the government doesn’t collaborate with us,” she said. “It’s our only form of sustenance.”

About a month later, on June 13, the armed forces announced the killing of guerilla leader Leider Yohani Noscué, AKA “Mayimbú” or “Comandante Wilson,” in the Cauca municipality of Suárez. He was commander of the FARC’s Sixth Front, which has remained in arms, in rejection of the 2016 peace accord. The military said Mayimbú was killed in an anti-guerilla operation code-named “Jaguar.” His body wasn’t recovered, but the Sixth Front confirmed his death and released photos of his coffin, draped in the Colombian flag, being lowered into a grave at a clandestine mountain location.

Media accounts made much of Mayimbú’s supposed control of cannabis cultivation in Cauca’s “Golden Triangle”—defined by the municipalities of Miranda, Corinto and Toribío. There was the familiar sensationalism about new and supposedly ultra-potent strains, with the traditional Punto Rojo purportedly being replaced by “Creepy” (also rendered “Cripy”). Authorities estimate 13,000 hectares are dedicated to unlicensed cannabis cultivation in Cauca’s Golden Triangle.

And anger is rising fast at the continued eradication of illicit crops as fortunes are made in the corporate cannabis sector. On the same day as the raid on El Mayo, May 11, three campesinos were wounded in San José de Uré, Córdoba region, when local residents reacted angrily to a National Police detachment sent in to eradicate their coca crops. “The community was protesting peacefully, without arms, when the police utilized arms of the state to fire on the civil population,” José David Ortega, leader of the Campesino Association of the Sur de Córdoba told newspaper El Espectador.

A similar incident was reported May 9 at Jamundí in Valle del Cauca (the next region to the north of Cauca), where local residents gathered to angrily protest a detachment of army troops sent in on an eradication mission. Media accounts did not mention any casualties or make clear if the crops in question were cannabis or coca. Also in May, campesinos at Tibú, Norte de Santander, blocked roads to prevent army troops from entering their communities to eradicate coca crops.

In April, the Campesino, Cocalero, Agrarian & Environmental Movement of Putumayo (MOVICAAP) launched a protest campaign in that southern rainforest region to bring attention to “the grave conditions we suffer in our territories, generated by forced eradication of coca-leaf crops, abandonment by the state, and systematic violation of human rights.”

The Specter of Fumigation

A particular threat of backsliding deeper into eradicationist dystopia is the return of aerial spraying of the herbicide glyphosate on illicit crops—fumigation, as it’s called by the government. Initiated in the 1980s, this was suspended in 2015 due to health concerns, and amid legal challenges to the practice by impacted campesino communities. The US stopped sending contract pilots for the spraying in 2013, after planes were shot down by the guerillas.

But Duque revived the fumigation program in 2018, this time on a smaller scale and carried out by drone rather than bush-plane, supposedly allowing for more precise targeting. In April 2021, Duque signed Decree 380, establishing regulations for expansion of the spraying. The text of the decree specifically mentioned “marijuana” as well as coca crops.

This May, the newly formed National Coordinator of Coca, Opium & Marijuana Producers (COCCAM) held a meeting in the city of Cúcuta, where they resolved to call a nationwide strike if the government implements Decree 380. And this April, more than 20 Colombian civil society organizations, including Dejusticia and Elementa, wrote to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), petitioning for an official audience to testify against the resumption of glyphosate spraying.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the body established by the 2016 accords to try cases related to the armed conflict, is currently hearing its first case concerning communities impacted by glyphosate spraying. The complaint was brought by a group of campesinos from villages in the Bolívar region, represented by the Association of Agricultural Producers of the Zona Alta de San Pablo (ASOCAZUL). Litigants say that at least 40 farmers who weren’t even producing illegal corps were impacted by the spraying, both affecting their health and destroying their (legal) crops, such as cacao.

By 2020, a total of 263 similar complaints had been brought before Colombia’s ordinary courts, demanding reparations. Of these, 41 were found in favor of the impacted communities, and 57 in favor of the state. The remaining 156 are still pending.

In 2018, a verdict against glyphosate producer Monsanto in a California case brought by a cancer patient focused world attention on the dangers of the herbicide.

Colombia’s campesinos and small-scale cannabis growers will certainly have a more sympathetic ear in the presidential palace, the Casa de Nariño, after Gustavo Petro takes office. We’ll soon see if Petro will really be able to rein in the security forces, break the nexus between cannabis and outlaw armed groups and extend legalized and regulated cultivation to places such as Cauca’s Golden Triangle.

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Colombian President Supports Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Colombian President Iván Duque said last week that he supports the legalization of medicinal cannabis in his country despite his country’s history producing coca, the plant that can be processed into cocaine.

During a trip to Israel, Duque said that he is optimistic about the future for Colombia’s nascent regulated cannabis industry, which this year gained permission to export dried cannabis flower. But he also said that he will continue to fight the influence of violent drug cartels and the environmental degradation in his country caused by cocaine processing.

“In order to plant one hectare of coca in Colombia, two hectares of tropical jungle are destroyed,” Duque told the Associated Press. “The other thing is that to produce cocaine you have a very high carbon footprint. You use a lot of gasoline, a lot of cement,” adding that the dangerous chemicals used during cocaine processing are often dumped in the forest after use.

Duque added that the illegal coca trade in Colombia is still plagued by violence from drug cartels and remaining forces of the FARC rebel group, which continue to fight despite a peace agreement that was reached with the government five years ago. In October, Colombian forces acting on intelligence provided by the U.S. and the U.K. captured Dairo Antonio Úsuga, known by the alias Otoniel, the country’s most wanted drug trafficker. Úsuga was captured in a jungle hideout after being sought by authorities for a career of violence and corruption that went back more than a decade.

“One of the most dangerous criminals in the world, and especially in Colombia, who had ordered the killing of environmental leaders, was Otoniel, the kingpin we captured two weeks ago,” said Duque.

Cannabis Exports Approved This Summer

A conservative politician, Duque has warned how drugs can “destroy” families and issued a presidential decree banning possession of drugs in public areas, contradicting a ruling by the country’s high court that permitted the possession of small amounts of cannabis, cocaine, and other drugs. He also supports aerial eradication efforts to destroy coca crops in his country, which has seen a significant spike in cocaine production. But he believes there is a significant difference between cannabis production for medicinal purposes and full legalization.

“We’re not using cannabis for recreational purposes. We’re using it for medical purposes,” said Duque, who will leave office after an election to choose his successor next year.

Colombia legalized medical cannabis cultivation in 2016, but until this year exports were limited to active pharmaceutical ingredients, a regulation that limited the economic potential of the crop for the nation. But in July, Duque signed a presidential decree to relax the regulations and permit the export of dried medicinal cannabis flower, which is in high demand in foreign markets including Europe and Israel.

“This means Colombia can enter to play a big role in the international market,” Duque said after signing the decree, adding that the Latin American cannabis exports could one day total as much as $6 billion per year. The president also noted that adding the new rules would allow Colombia’s cannabis industry to expand into foods and beverages, cosmetics, and other products.

“We’re seeing a lot of international investment coming to Colombia,” said Duque.

Andres Fajardo, the president of Colombian medicinal cannabis cultivator Clever Leaves, says that Colombia’s climate is perfect for growing cannabis. Situated on the equator, the country gets a consistent 12 hours of sunlight per day throughout the year, while the elevation of cultivation sites in the Andes makes it possible to cultivate high-quality cannabis using less pesticides to control disease and bacteria than other areas.

“If you think about it, greenhouses in other countries are trying to emulate the natural conditions we get here for free,” Fajardo told CNN. “Your factor costs in terms of labor are significantly cheaper.”

Juan Diego Alvarez, vice president of regulatory issues for cannabis producer Khiron Life Sciences, believes that allowing cannabis to be exported from Colombia is only the beginning of a new era for the industry.

“Lifting the prohibition on exporting the dry flower will start a regulatory process which we hope will be performed in great detail, to the highest international standards,” said Alvarez.

Duque traveled to Jerusalem to mark the opening of a Colombian innovation center in Israel, which has more than 100,000 licensed medical cannabis patients. At a discussion panel with the Colombian president hosted by Start-Up Nation Central, which connects governments and international businesses to Israeli entrepreneurs, company CEO Avi Hasson said that collaboration between the two countries can be mutually beneficial.

“Innovation is probably the solution to most of our problems,” Hasson said. “Even those created by innovation, they will still need to be solved by innovation.”

The post Colombian President Supports Legalizing Medical Marijuana appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Colombia Makes History with First High-THC Medical Cannabis Sales

Canadian/Colombian-based Khiron Life Sciences is a global cannabis company that has developed a reputation as a Latin American industry leader. In March 2020, Khiron made history by becoming the first company to develop and commercialize a medical cannabis product in Colombia. Since then, the company has achieved many other milestones to empower their place in the global cannabis industry.

CEO Alvaro Torres, and VP of Business Development Andrés Galofre, launched Khiron in 2017 with a focused mission to improve people’s quality of life, change how medical cannabis products were seen and present their application as an effective treatment option for common health conditions such as anxiety and chronic pain, as well as more specific illnesses including Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

With core operations in Latin America, along with activity in North America and Europe, Khiron is licensed in Colombia for the cultivation, production, domestic distribution, and international export medical cannabis.

In a highly regulated industry, Khiron continues to be a leader in the development of medical cannabis regulations across Latin America. This is largely due to their “seed to patient” operation, which serves as a source for research development and innovative health models.

“The medical cannabis industry is still in its formative years in Colombia and across Latin America,” Torres said. “Regulatory protocols are expected to evolve and with firms such as Khiron leading the path forward on issues from compliance to innovation, the region will undoubtedly play a pivotal role as the multi-billion global cannabis industry matures.”

In 2018, shortly after becoming the first Colombian cannabis company to trade globally, Khiron began acquiring clinic networks in Colombia, including facilities that treat neurological and nervous system pathologies.

The company now owns and operates two ILANS clinics and recently opened Zerenia, an integrated medical care facility that also specializes in the prescription of medical cannabis for neurological diseases, pain and mental health conditions.

Additionally, in the last couple of months, the company signed distribution deals with big pharmacy retailers in the region such as Locatel in Colombia and Farmacias Universal in Peru, where Khiron recently obtained licences to import and commercialize medical cannabis products.

In addition to production of medical cannabis, Colombia’s regulations also allow for the commercialization of CBD cosmetic products. Khiron has tapped into this opportunity to market a CBD-based skincare line called Kuida.

From Seed to Patient

Khiron’s leadership team knows that in order to guarantee a successful “seed to patient” process, educating health professionals and investing in research and development are key:

  • Khiron is partnering with two of the main Latin American Universities (Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and Cayetano Heredia in Peru) to develop high-quality education programs that will train more than 1500 doctors in the applications of medical cannabis and its safe and ethical prescription.
  • Khiron is developing the first Latin American study regarding cannabis and dermatological conditions.
  • In 2019, Khiron was invited to become the exclusive Latin American medical cannabis provider for Project Twenty21, Europe’s largest ongoing medical cannabis study, which is enrolling over 20,000 patients to create the largest body of research on medical cannabis. The project will study treatment options for conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Tourette’s Syndrome, anxiety and substance abuse issues.

As countries around the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Khiron has remained operational under a government exemption. While strictly respecting health and safety guidelines, its cultivation and lab facilities are active, and their clinics continue to support patient needs.

TELL US, what do you know about medical cannabis in Latin America?

The post Colombia Makes History with First High-THC Medical Cannabis Sales appeared first on Cannabis Now.

420/Canciones para disfrutar el mejor de los tiempos

 420 es más que un día para fumar,  ya sea que tus razones para apoyar la marihuana sean médicas o recreacionales, podemos estar de acuerdo que falta investigación, falta información, falta apoyo, y lo más importante, falta desmitificar el estigma que nos rodea. El 420 es un excelente día para recordar que tenemos todavía un camino…

La industria colombiana crece con el mayor acuerdo firmado hasta la fecha.

BOGOTÁ- Los desarrollos recientes en América Latina han atraído gran atención a los diferentes países que están ingresando en la industria del cannabis de la región. Una señal de este crecimiento son países como Colombia, Brasil y Perú, que están sobresaliendo en su promesa de convertirse en jugadores clave dentro de la industria mundial.

El 18 de diciembre, una de las empresas líderes de Colombia, Medcann Colombia, y Botaniki Lab, empresa dedicada a la fabricación de productos farmacéuticos, químicos medicinales y botánicos para uso farmacéutico, firmaron un acuerdo de suministro, el mayor acuerdo firmado en Colombia hasta la fecha.

El acuerdo incluye un cronograma para el crecimiento gradual del área cultivada por Medcann, que superará las 247 hectáreas, para el suministro de 600 toneladas anuales de flores secas al Laboratorio Botaniki. Medcann entregará periódicamente cannabis no psicoactivo a Botaniki Lab, que llevará a cabo la extracción y exportación de derivados a Europa y América Latina.

Este acuerdo tendrá un gran impacto social y económico creando más de 200 empleos sostenibles, permitiéndonos cumplir con nuestros objetivos fundamentales, que son lograr un impacto ambiental, social y económico positivo y sostenible en el país “, explicó Jon Ruiz, presidente de Medcann Pharma.

Medcann obtuvo en agosto de 2019 l el primer cupo en Colombia para el cultivo, procesamiento y exportación de cannabis psicoactivo, y actualmente se posiciona como el único proyecto con su propia capacidad de producción de medicamentos y fitoterapéuticos.

 “Estamos orgullosos de poder reiterar nuestro compromiso con la investigación médica y los procesos de la más alta calidad en Colombia, para que el país continúe apostando por el desarrollo de la industria del cannabis medicinal y dar el gran salto internacional “
dijo Jon Ruiz.

Sin duda, estos son signos de que vendrá mucho de Colombia en el año 2020, la industria del cannabis está atenta y seguramente América Latina tendrá influencia en su crecimiento.

The post La industria colombiana crece con el mayor acuerdo firmado hasta la fecha. appeared first on High Times.