Exclusive: Colombia Shakes Up Rules for Nascent Cannabis Industry

The Petro administration has modified key regulation for the sector, Bloomberg Línea has learned

Exclusive: Colombia Shakes Up Rules for Nascent Cannabis Industry
February 22, 2024 | 10:43 AM

Read this story in


Bogotá — The Gustavo Petro administration has just changed the name of the game for Colombia’s nascent cannabis industry. Bloomberg Línea has exclusively learned about a new resolution, through which the Ministries of Health, Justice, and Agriculture have decided to extend the maximum amount of time that licensed companies have to transport psychoactive cannabis crops to their final destination.

That window will now move up to 48 months, or four years, from the date that the crops were first harvested.

The final destination refers to the use of psychoactive cannabis for purposes of research, exports, delivery to a third party outside of the company’s own operations, or entry to the process of sub-product manufacturing.

With this new Resolution, number 224 of February 16, 2024, the previous period of two years (24 months) mentioned in 2022′s Resolution 227 has been modified. Once this new four-year time limit has elapsed, the material must be disposed of (inventory destruction).


The regulation also specifies that companies licensed for the manufacturing of sub-products will have to abide by specific production quotas for psychoactive cannabis derivatives, including a limitation on the use of surpluses, and a quota for the use of imported products.

“We had been asking the government from the cannabis industry to eliminate the article that forced licensees to destroy their inventory after 24 months of having used up their quota. That period began on February 18, 2024, and then we learned about this Resolution from February 16, extending that period to 48 months, both for cultivation and extraction. This in practice solves the problem for the licensees, it’s a message of goodwill from the government. We would have liked it to be done more quickly but we understand that it is a favorable measure for the industry,” Julián Wilches, director of regulatory affairs at Clever Leaves, told Bloomberg Línea.

Last October, Asocolcanna, Asocáñamo, the Colombian Cannabis Federation, and a group of entrepreneurs from the sector asked the government to repeal that regulation arguing that it imposed discriminatory treatment on the cannabis industry compared to other national industries.


Colombia is an importer and user of many other drugs which had no such rules that forced them to destroy their inventory, they had argued.

The business chambers had also pointed out that the cannabis sector is highly regulated and monitored, with a greater number of control entities than that in other industries. For the companies, the imposition of an obligation to destroy technically and commercially suitable product was difficult to understand.

Another urgent request

Despite the issuance of the aforementioned Resolution, there is still much work to be done in the cannabis sector, Wilches said. He out that “dry flower must be prescribed for patients in Colombia. It makes no sense for patients in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel to have access to Colombian flowers, while patients here do not. Here they hardly have access to a magistral formula.”

Regarding this, sources close to the process told this media outlet that what needs to be done to achieve that prescription is to modify Decree 811 of 2021 and that, despite the Ministry of Justice’s desire to advance that purpose, there is a lot of resistance among the technicians of the Ministry of Health to achieve that objective.