The amendment to Regulatory Decree No. 613/2017, governing the medical cannabis market and authorising exports of dried cannabis flower for medical purposes, acts as a stimulus to the Colombian pharmaceutical industry and guarantees the access to cannabis-derived medications.
Medical Cannabis in Colombia
Although new regulations have become effective quite recently, legislative progress already has achieved a great impact on the economy. In almost four months, Colombia exported USD 2.2 million in medical cannabis, with a 0.6% increase as compared to the same period in 2020. The United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and Israel stand out as the main buyers, according to data collected by DANE—an entity in charge of planning, collecting, processing, analysing, and disseminating Colombia’s official statistics—and analysed by ProColombia. In 2020, international sales rose over USD 5 million, with products reaching Brazil, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
In this context, the Colombian government is currently evaluating the adoption of five requests to register cannabis-based medical and cosmetic products for animals. According to Aura María Pulido, Head of Veterinary Safety and Supplies at Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) [Colombian Institute for Agriculture and Livestock], “this is a great opportunity because the market surrounding pets is huge and expands day by day.” Pulido highlighted that cannabis companies “have already developed cultivation and the seed production market. They are already producing raw materials, and now they must go forward bringing added value.”
Veterinary Drugs and Products Containing Cannabis
Head Pulido explained that cannabis-based medications are designed to curb pain and anxiety in pets and stressed that the regulatory degree—which also authorises exports of dried cannabis flower for medical purposes—offers a wide array of opportunities in the market, among which we could mention the possibility to produce veterinary products and food for animals containing CBD.
ICA proposes two alternatives for animal products distribution: the first one is that the sale of medications should be administered by stores, meaning that these products would be available at veterinary shops and would be governed by the same registry regulations that apply to any other veterinary product. The other one is resorting to veterinary compounding. Out of all five licences that await approval, four are related to cosmetics, a category that encompasses shampoo, soap, toothpaste, perfume, etc. and the other one is related to a therapeutic medication, informed Ana María Pulido.
Colombia is now leading the way in terms of legislation authorising possession, production, distribution, sale and export of cannabis seeds, plants and derived products, such as oils, pills, cream and extracts for medical purposes. Now it is also expected that animals will be able to benefit from new regulations and veterinary research.