From Clothes and Drinks to NFTs: Colombia’s Cannabis Industry Blooms

Colombia’s cannabis industry is diversifying following new legislation allowing for industrial use of the plant

A Greenlab NFT, a cannabis-based drink, and a cannabis plant.
March 14, 2022 | 06:31 PM

Bogotá — Colombia’s cannabis industry is blooming, boosted by new regulations that allow for its industrial use, with the first exports of food and beverages containing cannabis shipping to the U.S., while several firms in the sector are diversifying and seeking opportunities, even in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The process toward opening up the industry to diversification began in mid-2021 with Decree 811, which was regulated, in turn, with Resolution 227 of 2022, and which opened the door to the export of dried cannabis flower and its varied industrial uses in Colombia.

“This resolution allows, defines and establishes all the mechanisms and procedures for the industrial use of the cannabis plant in sectors such as food, beverages, alcoholic beverages and dietary supplements, but clarifying that those uses have to do with the non-psychoactive component,” President Iván Duque said at the time.

This year has seen the sector enjoying good news, ranging from regulatory aspects to specific milestones achieved by some of the Colombian in this emerging sector.


In January, textile firm Stardog Loungewear, a brand created by Hemp Textiles and Co., said it would begin selling its hemp-based products in the stores of U.S. chain Macy’s, becoming the first company to supply such products to the U.S. outlets.

Colombia is seeing a boom in businesses producing products made from cannabis.

Meanwhile, Colombian company Flora Growth said it has registered its first cannabis-based food and beverage products with the National Institute of Food and Drug Surveillance (Invima).

The registered products include juices, carbonated soft drinks, gummies and healthy snacks, all of which are awaiting approval from Colombia’s health authorities.


In early March, the same company completed the acquisition of cannabis products firm JustCBD, after having closed the purchase of U.S. vape products firm Vessel Brand in December.

JustCBD includes a direct-to-consumer business with more than 300,000 customers, and a network of more than 14,000 stores across the world, including in the United States.

Read More: Colombian Coffee Production, Exports Fall Amid Climate Change

Bloomberg Línea reported at the time that the announcement was tied to Resolution 227 on the industrial uses of cannabis, and that Flora Growth was aiming to register its portfolio of such brands in Colombia.


A few days later, the company announced that it has exported its first shipment of food and beverages with cannabis as an ingredient to the U.S., and that it also plans to expand the distribution of juices, chocolates and ghee butter, among other products, to that market.

Medicinal Cannabis, One of the Largest Niches

Before the outlook for industrial uses became clear, Colombia had enacted a law regulating the use and commercialization of medicinal cannabis in the country back in 2016, which initially protected patients who treat their ailments with the plant.

This is now one of the strongest areas in the cannabis industry, and Colombia expects to export between $1.73 billion and, in the most optimistic scenario, $2.59 billion of such products by 2030.


In late 2021, Colombia adjusted the list of medicines and procedures covered by the health promotion entity EPS, including medicinal cannabis, as part of the country’s Health Benefits Plan.

As the Ministry of Health explained at the time, the list was updated because “the dynamics of the healthcare system are changing, as healthcare technologies grow at the same pace as scientific advances”.

Read More: How a Peace Deal in Colombia Brought War on the Amazon

Colombia has taken steps to make advances in medical care with cannabis-derived products for the local market, but also with a view to exports.


Following an alliance between the Colombian multinational Clever Leaves and Ethypharm, a European manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceutical products, Colombian cannabis will also reach German pharmacies as a prescription drug after being approved and released according to the quality standards of that European country.

According to the Colombian company, “this is the first commercial shipment of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis-derived products, manufactured in Colombia and with European Union GMP certification”.

NFTs, Another Step for Cannabis

Greenlab's NFT collection.

Just as cannabis is gaining ground in the field of medicinal and industrial uses, it is also entering the world of NFTs, intangible assets that offer their owner a unique certificate of authenticity.


Colombian company Greenlab, dedicated to the cultivation of medicinal cannabis and the development of value-added products, has launched its own collection of NFTs called ‘Space Resistance’, which represent a group of astronauts traveling into space to ensure the survival of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes.

“If this plant cannot grow freely on Earth, we will take it into space. The message is clear: cannabis will continue to grow to improve the lives of millions of patients around the world,” is the message of the collection that was launched in New York’s iconic Times Square.

Although the price of the NFT collection, which will have 5,555 unique pieces digitally created by Colombian artist Julián Majín, has not yet been defined, Bloomberg Línea learned that it would be between $400 and $500.

Also Read: