Skip to main content

Colombian President Considers Removing License Prerequisite For Cannabis Cultivation

colombia flag

Newly sworn-in President Gustavo Petro is on the cusp of a revolutionary new national stance on cannabis cultivation – namely removing the requirement of licenses for the same

Gustavo Petro, the newly sworn-in, left-leaning President of Colombia, has made clear that ending the drug war will be a priority of his administration.

He even highlighted the same in his inauguration speech saying, “It is time for a new international convention that accepts that the drug war has failed, which has left a million murdered Latin Americans during these 40 years and that leaves 70,000 Americans dead from drug overdoses each year.”

Last week, he discussed his vision of a legal industry in Colombia at a summit of mayors.

Petro stressed the economic potential of a fully legal cannabis industry – and in a revolutionary move not often seen at the federal level – proposed removing the requirement to have a license for domestic cannabis companies.

He has also called for the release of prisoners held on non-violent drug charges.

As a former member of M-19 a guerrilla group, Petro is no stranger to violence, including over drugs.

Where Does Legalization Stand in Colombia?

Senator Gustavo Bolivar introduced new legislation last month which has a good chance of passing now that the country has a majority of liberal lawmakers. The position has also been recognized internationally, including by US Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) who said that he looked forward to working together with such a forward-thinking executive to “rethink drug policy.”

How Would Unlicensed Cannabis Fit into International Standards?

Petro is suggesting a potentially radically new approach to the regulation of the cannabis industry – namely turning it into a regular commodity crop – like soybeans and corn. This does not mean that he is suggesting the cultivation of the crop without any oversight. All such food crops must comply with international standards on everything from pesticide use to the kind of soil they are grown in – even if not sold as “organic.”

This approach is a truly different one that the model that currently stands – thanks in large part to the approach adopted in Europe’s medical markets. Currently, the only high THC cannabis that can cross international borders is GMP certified (medical, pharmaceutical grade).

However, the debate about this is now starting to be heard across a much wider spectrum of debate given the pending legalization of recreational use aus Deutschland. It could be that Petro is angling to become first in line to import Colombian-grown cannabis into the new recreational market in Germany.

Whatever happens, however, Colombia is now at the forefront of an international discussion about regulation that will undoubtedly have an impact on the status quo. Globally.