The South American nation of Colombia has been a major exporter of cannabis for many decades, albeit in an illegal fashion. The country is more commonly associated with the illicit cocaine industry, however, Colombia has also long been home to a vibrant cannabis cultivation community.

Colombia is now poised to be a major legal exporter of cannabis to countries around the world due to a number of reasons, not the least of which is its climate which is ideal for cultivating cannabis. Per NPR:

Colombia sits near the equator, giving it 12 hours of daily sunlight year-round. By contrast, countries with seasonal variations require the extensive use of artificial lights, which drives up production costs.

As an emerging venture it’s unclear how the medical marijuana business will play out. For example, it remains illegal to import marijuana-based products into the United States. Due to government bureaucracy in Colombia, it can take months or years for startups to secure the proper permits and licenses.

Yet the uncertainty hasn’t stopped companies from betting big on cannabis.

Land and labor are cheap in Colombia compared to other countries that permit the legal production of cannabis. That, combined with the country’s ideal cultivation conditions, makes the nation the perfect place to cultivate an enormous amount of cannabis that can be supplied to other countries around the world.

To get an idea of where Colombia will likely rank in the global cannabis industry in the future, consider the fact that sungrown cannabis can be cultivated at a cost of roughly $7 per pound in Colombia. Virtually no other nation can match that cost of production, especially at a quality level that matches Colombian cannabis.

Colombia is still dealing with a large amount of stigma due to the drug war, and while a lot of that is born out of Colombia’s cocaine trade, the country’s cannabis industry gets caught in the crossfire. That, in turn, makes Colombian lawmakers and regulators hesitant to open up the industry in a more significant fashion.

However, as time goes by Colombia’s leadership will no doubt see the global demand for legal cannabis increasing, the stigma surrounding the cannabis plant diminishing, and will recognize that Colombia is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in the global cannabis market.

When that happens Colombia may very well become the top cannabis exporting nation on the planet.

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