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420 with CNW — Colombian Marijuana Exports Exceed $10M as Authorities Double Shelf-Life Limit

In the past year, Colombia’s export of medical marijuana has continued its upward trajectory, although it hasn’t reached the anticipated heights yet. According to data from ProColombia, a governmental body promoting alternative Colombian trade, medical marijuana exports from the country reached a value of $10.8 million in 2023. This marks an 11.3% increase compared to the previous year’s $9.7 million and a notable 96% rise from 2021.

Observers within the industry interpret these latest figures as indicators of the Colombian marijuana market’s ongoing development. Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian highlights the growing recognition of the economic, practical and environmental advantages of cultivating cannabis in Colombia. Azadian anticipates further growth, particularly as pharmaceutical projects such as Avicanna’s Trunerox gain marketing authorization in Colombia and Brazil, leveraging active pharmaceutical ingredients sourced from Colombia.

Trunerox, an Avicanna’s CBD-based medication that targets individuals with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, exemplifies the potential for medical cannabis products. Azadian notes the extended timeline for developing medical marijuana markets, suggesting that only a handful of companies may thrive due to the considerable investment and regulatory hurdles. Despite the challenges, the approval of certain products indicates potential scalability.

In 2023, Colombia’s marijuana exports encompassed diverse products, including dietary supplements, cosmetics and phytotherapeutic products. Notably, the destinations for Colombia’s exports have been evolving alongside changing regulations in other countries. Brazil emerged as the top destination in 2023, surpassing Argentina, then followed by Australia and Germany.

Azadian draws attention to the importance of pharmaceutical cannabis medications such as Trunerox, which can make medical claims and may support Colombia’s exports in the future. Rather than being a raw resource, he sees Trunerox as a finished good that Colombia will sell in large quantities.

Recent regulatory changes in Colombia that extend the timeframe for selling or exporting THC products to 48 months offer further opportunities. This extension, doubling the previous limit, aims to prevent the stockpiling of unsellable cannabis while providing relief to companies with surplus inventory.

Industry responses to the regulatory change vary, with some viewing it as critical, particularly for smaller growers who rely on inventory as capital. Larger producers such as PharmaCielo welcome the extension because it allows them to retain inventory for longer, supporting anticipated growth in international sales.

Despite the expansion of government-funded health insurance to include medical cannabis in late 2022, the domestic market in Colombia faces challenges. Only two medical marijuana drugs have obtained marketing authorization from INVIMA, Colombia’s regulatory body. Additionally, the majority of medical products are magisterial preparations, which face hurdles in scaling due to regulatory constraints and insurance coverage issues.

Avicanna’s head legal director, Ernesto Castilla Bautista, highlights the constraints imposed by the magisterial preparation model, inhibiting economies of scale. He notes the challenges patients face in accessing medical cannabis due to insurance coverage issues, emphasizing the need for products such as Trunerox with INVIMA approval to streamline access and affordability for patients.

The successes being notched by Colombian cannabis exporters are an inspiration to entities such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY) that have an interest in making their mark on the global cannabis market.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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