Country Breakdown: Access to medical cannabis in Latin America
Latin America hosts some of the most progressive medical marijuana deregulations in the world. A total of eight countries have legalized some form of medical marijuana use across Central and South America.
Each country’s legislation permits different levels of cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing, which can represent significant monetary gains for investors and the nations themselves.
Here is PotNetwork’s overview of how deregulation is affecting distribution in Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Brazil.
Cannabis has been de-regulated in Mexico since 2009, but there continues to be no path for legal cultivation. Instead, the country imports cannabis products and provides licenses to firms for pharmacy distribution.
HempMeds Mexico, a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTCMKTS:MJNA) and Green Lotus, a private company based in Colorado, are among the companies licensed to supply CBD products to pharmacies. Seven pharmaceutical companies, four based in Mexico, received licenses to distribute 38 CBD products in the initial licensing process in late 2018.
The Mexican government is currently evaluating a bill that would legalize recreational and medical marijuana use in the country.
Colombia is historically one of the most infamous names in the cannabis market, though not due to its deregulation. The country decriminalized small amounts of cannabis in 2009 and in 2016 deregulated cultivation.
More than any other country, Colombia seeks notoriety for its internal and external distribution and has already provided a license to Khiron to build a top grade medical processing facility.
In February, Clever Leaves became the first Colombian cannabis company to receive an import license in Canada. Clever Leaves, Khiron Life Sciences Corp (OTCQB:KHRNF) (TSXV:KHRN), and Blueberries Medical Corp. (CSE:BBM), a Colombian cannabis-based products company, are among those who received licenses and plots for cultivation.
Uruguay maintains the title of the first country in Latin America to decriminalize cannabis.
Its home-cultivation laws are some of the most deregulated in Latin America, but they face distribution and importation hangups for medical patients.
Fourteen pharmacies are authorized to sell medical cannabis products but are often understocked. A total of 7 companies are licensed to grow medical cannabis, 5 of those licenses are brand new.
Panama introduced a medicinal marijuana bill in March 2016. Now, in 2019, the bill is heading to the labor and health committees of the country’s national assembly where regulations will be debated and built.
Currently, there are no distribution regulations in Panama regarding medical cannabis.
Argentina has an import-only market for medical use.
In February 2019, they announced a partnership with Nevada based, Player’s Network, Inc. (OTCQB:PNTV). Player’s Network received permission to cultivate for research, not medical use.
This week, Aphria (NYSE:APHA), a Canadian-based cannabis producer and distributor, received an exclusive import and supply agreement from the government to import directly to pharmacies. This deal gives Aphria a monopoly on the Argentinian market.
Chile is at the forefront of distribution and importing and exporting. Their medical marijuana deregulation bill, which passed in 2015, permits in-country cultivation and manufacturing.
Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY), and it’s subsidiary Alef Biotechnology, SpA, distribute Salcobrand products to pharmacies and will be building a manufacturing facility.
Khiron also received permission to begin production and, likely, manufacturing in Chile.
Just last week, Peru announced deregulation guidelines, with statutes for distribution and sale.
Currently, Plena Global Holdings Inc., a private Canadian firm, is the dominant player in Peru, helping build the legislation and receiving an exclusive distribution agreement for medicinal CBD oil.
Khiron, too, is supplying CBD cosmetics to the Peruvian market under their brand, Kuida. It is available through online and retail channels.
Brazil is at a medical marijuana crossroads. Their government slowly deregulated throughout the early aughts, including legalizing medicinal CBD in 2015.
The country’s new president, who assumed power in early 2019, is not a proponent of CBD. The country’s market forces appear to be moving forward with, or without, his approval.
As it stands, the market is limited. There is no medical marijuana cultivation permitted, but in early 2017, Elixinol Global (ASX:EXL) (OTC:ELLXF), received supply and distribution permission. More recently, HempMeds, a Californian CBD oil producer, opened HempMeds Brazil in late 2018.