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PharmaCielo granted new cannabis licenses in Colombia as competition heats up in Latin America

PotNetwork's special coverage of the Latin American cannabis sector


PharmaCielo (TSXV:PCLO) (CVE:PCLO), a Canadian based medical cannabis investor with global operations in Colombia, announced last Wednesday that they had been granted a proprietary license for 10 unique CBD and THC strains under Colombia’s national cultivar registry. These licenses come as a part of a national shift for Colombia to regulate its illegal drug trade and bring global prominence to one of its major agricultural products.

The Latin American country decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in the 1990s. It was a blow to the United States whose never-ending war on drugs, particularly cocaine and marijuana from Colombia, had gone on for decades.

In 2016 Colombia, again, passed historic legislation to take marijuana cultivation from the hands of the drug lords and legalize and regulate it for medical use. Today, the country wants to utilize its historic brand as a purveyor and cultivator of high-quality cannabis by inviting international companies, like PharmaCielo and grow medical marijuana to be exported across the globe.

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Why does a proprietary strain matter?

Medicine is proprietary. Companies can charge double or more for medicinal compounds they patent and own.

Marijuana is no different. Even before the medical and recreational marijuana movements, consumers have looked for special strains like, OG Kush or Purple Haze, which they believe will give them the best user experience. Different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, the major medical and psychoactive compounds in cannabis, can affect the consumer differently, sometimes negatively.

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Thousands of people already use CBD and THC to treat a variety of illnesses. The fact that these drugs have been illegal throughout most of the world has severely limited doctor’s and caregivers ability to dose CBD and THC effectively.

For cannabis companies looking to participate in the medical market, they need to assure doctors and patients that their doses are consistent, safe, and effective for the illness they are treating. PharmaCielo’s proprietary strain aligns them with pharmaceutical companies, demonstrating that producers have control over dosing and strength of the compounds.

PharmaCielo’s big break

In Colombia, to trade restricted seeds or plants, a company must register those seeds with the Colombian Institute of Agriculture. Colombia’s regulatory process to register the strains can take multiple years as the regulators evaluate the compounds from field to final product.

Last week’s announcement was months in the making for PharmaCielo. The opportunity to have their CBD and THC strains registered in Colombia’s national cultivation registry gives them an exclusive opportunity within the medicinal market.

Camilo Ospina, Head of Innovation for PharmaCielo Colombia, told La Republica Peru that, “Our advantage is that the Columbian brand is significant in itself. We want to intensify this so that Colombian cannabis is what you want to buy.”

PharmaCielo has Colombia’s only CBD strain that reaches the World Health Organization’s purity standards.

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“Among those approved is an historic and unique CBD-dominant strain approved for commercial registration and sourced from the Colombian landrace strains held within our fuente semillera, the first and only one of its kind registered in Colombia,” the President of PharmaCielo Colombia Federico Cock-Correa said in a statement. Here, Cock-Correa references one of PharmaCielo’s founding principles is its partnership with local communities who have contributed to cultivating and perfecting the licensed and historic CBD strains.

The commitment to using historical strains has strengthened PharmaCielo’s brand within Colombia and contributed to their licensing success.

Looking to the future

On Jan. 24, 2019 Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, of the WHO wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, with new international classifications of cannabis and its compounds. Most significant, this letter recommended that CBD no longer be regulated by the International Drug Control Conventions, indicating that the WHO no longer deemed CBD to be an illicit substance.

Even before the WHO’s announcement, CBD had proven to be highly popular across Europe and the Americas for its non-psychoactive properties and proven ability to relieve a multitude of ailments including seizures and arthritis.

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PharmaCielo believes that this clarification by the WHO will increase global demand for CBD. With an additional 20 strains up for licensing in Colombia and strong international ties, it shouldn’t be long before Canadians, and other nations have the opportunity to utilize PharmaCielo CBD for their ailments.

PharmaCielo’s stocks closed at $5.885 on Friday, down 3.2 percent.

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