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Latin America Cannabis Cultivation Set to Blossom Amid Arrival of More Pharma Firms

Cannabis cultivation in Latin America is set to surge in the coming months as more global pharmaceutical companies are choosing the region as a base to develop medicines from marijuana.

Earlier this month, Toronto-listed Khiron Life Sciences Corp partnered with Colombian research hospital Centro Dermatológico Federico Lleras Acosta to develop cannabis-based medicines that are used to cure certain skin diseases.

This will be the first clinical research laboratory for medical marijuana in Latin America.

The partnership comes two months after Canadian firm PharmaCielo bought a stake in Mexico’s Mino Labs to export cannabis oil.

Meanwhile, US firm Tilray, which sells medical marijuana, has acquired Chile’s Alef Biotechnology. Alef is licensed by the Chilean government to commercially produce cannabis for medical purposes.

Latin America is highly appealing to cannabis companies because many countries in the region have lenient regulations regarding the drug. Uruguay has legalized marijuana entirely, allowing people to use it for both medical and recreational purposes.

Many other countries – including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil – have legalized use of the plant for medical purposes, and some of those those countries also tolerate moderate personal consumption.

The region also offers ideal climatic conditions for growing the plant, and producing marijuana is very much cost-effective in Brazil and Colombia.

Cannabis worth US$125 million was sold legally in the region in 2018, according to market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners, predicting that sales would increase to US$12.7 billion over the next decade.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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