In recent years, Colombia has positioned itself as the star of the Latin American cannabis landscape.
An ideal climate for the plant, permissive legislation and low production costs have turned the country into a major hub for international cannabis investments.
Colombia started a path towards legalization in 1986, and by now has one of the most advanced regulatory systems in the continent. Companies there are allowed to file for licenses to grow and export CBD and THC products globally. The local market is growing steadily, with Khiron recently receiving permission to sell THC products to medical patients in the country.
The local industry is dominated by a few players that attract investor attention above others. Although part of a leading group, these companies feature very dissimilar business models that make up their most attractive characteristics.
Photo by Erika Mondragon, courtesy of Clever Leaves.
Clever Leaves is a producer of medical cannabis and hemp extracts that currently cultivates over 1.8 million square feet (16.7 hectares) of greenhouses in Colombia.
Founded in 2016 by Andres Fajardo, Julian Wilches and Gustavo Escobar, the company merged in 2019 with Northern Swan, its main investor, making Kyle Detwiler the CEO. It’s the only private company in the group of four.
Clever Leaves commercializes crude cannabis oils, distillates and isolates, as well as finished products through its B2B wholesaler platform called Clever Leaves 360.
Iqanna is Clever Leave’s pharmaceutical branch, focused on the research, cultivation, extraction, processing, and distribution of medicinal cannabis.
Additionally, Clever Leaves manages three wellness and beauty consumer brands and has a portfolio of other cannabis companies in its investment platform.
Its extraction facility is currently capable of extracting 2,400 kilograms of dried flowers per month.
In 2019, the company also received authorization to cultivate medical cannabis in Portugal, and has started operations in a 90-hectare Portuguese farm.
Avicanna’s crops in Santa Marta. Photo courtesy of Avicanna.
Avicanna AVCN AVCNF is a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of cannabinoids exclusively for the medical cannabis, health and wellness markets.
The company was co-founded in 2016 by Setu Purohit and Aras Azadian, who serve as president and CEO, respectively.
Avicanna is headquartered at the Johnson & Johnson JLABS Innovation Centre in Toronto, where it handles R&D operations and exercises an exclusive research agreement with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto.
The company also cultivates and processes cannabinoids through its two majority-owned subsidiaries, Sativa Nativa and Santa Marta Golden Hemp, both located in Santa Marta, Colombia. The two make up 410,000 square feet (3.8 hectares) of cultivation capacity with production capacity of over 30,000 kg of biomass per year.
The Colombian facilities produce THC, CBD, CBG and other rare cannabinoids that are utilized for the company’s finished products and also offered to the global marketplace under the Aureus Santa Marta brand.
Avicanna also owns Rho Phyto, a medical cannabinoid brand currently in commercialization in Canada through an exclusive partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart.
Pura Earth is Avicanna’s CBD derma-cosmetic consumer brand, which launched for the Colombian market in November 2019, and plans to expand globally.
Photo Courtesy of PharmaCielo.
Pharmacielo PCLO is a Toronto-based cannabis company that was founded in 2014. It grows cannabis in Colombia through its wholly owned operating subsidiary PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings.
Pharmacielo has more than 1.2 million square feet (12 hectares) under cultivation at its open air greenhouses producing up to 5.5 million kilograms of flower per year. Its processing capacity is over 24 metric tonnes of refined cannabis oil per year.
Currently PharmaCielo commercializes CBD and THC extracts and has commercial brands under development. In 2019, the company completed its first commercial exports to Europe and the U.S.
Photo courtesy of Khiron
Khiron Life Sciences KHRNF is a vertically-integrated cannabis producer with core operations in Colombia.
The startup was founded in 2017 and carries three business segments: Med, Health Services and Wellbeing.
Khiron Med commercializes THC and CBD products to pharmacies in Colombia and at Khiron’s own medical clinics. Sales of Khiron’s medical high-THC cannabis commenced in Colombia in Q1 2020. The segment was also selected to provide cannabis products to Project Twenty21, a European initiative to facilitate access of medical cannabis.
The company has an yearly cultivation capacity of 8,000 kilograms of dried flower and owns a 14,000 square-feet (0.13 hectares) extraction facility that is GMP and ISO compliant.
Khiron Health Services manages two clinics in Colombia that work with cannabis as an alternative medicine, and also offer an array of traditional medical services including neurological, psychiatric, respiratory, urological, sleep and orthopedic attention.
Khiron Wellbeing is the company’s consumer-product segment, which handles Kuida, a consumer brand of cannabis-based products for “beauty, lifestyle, fitness, nutrition and healthy living.”
Featured image courtesy of Khiron Life Sciences.
Versión en Español: Las Cuatro Grandes Compañías de Cannabis en Colombia
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