Bogotá — What had once seemed a utopia is today a fact: more and more Colombian cannabis companies are showing the world that, despite the many difficulties that the process has taken, dried cannabis flower exports are now a reality.
Colombian companies Flora Growth and Colombian Organics recently became the latest companies in the country to ship the product, Bloomberg Línea can exclusively reveal.
“This Wednesday, we delivered our first airport shipment to be exported next week,” Pablo Fog, co-founder and CEO of Colombian Organics, said.
“It is CBD flower, and the destination is Switzerland; one part of the content is less than 0.2% THC and the other has 0.5% THC,” said the co-founder of the company that launched in 2016 by an agricultural family with more than 40 years of experience in the flower export business.
According to Miguel Fog, Pablo’s brother and a co-founder and the company’s business developer, Colombian Organics had one of the first 10 cannabis licenses that were issued in the country.
“We were one of the few firms that decided not to sell in its early days,” he said.
Colombian Organics is located on the plains outside Bogotá, between Chocontá and Villapinzón, in a 12-hectare (29.6-acre) farm, one of them productive, and has 31 employees.
Local company Flora Growth is also entering into exports. According to its CEO, Luis Merchán, the company is the largest in the sector in Colombia in terms of capitalization.
“These changes open the door to the export of dried flower, which represents more or less 40% of the entire cannabis trade around the world. It’s a very positive opportunity, but it’s going to take a little bit of time while this supply chain moves, builds confidence with customers and government entities in export destinations,” Merchán said.
The company, which was founded in 2019, has a 100-hectare (247-acre) plantation located in Lebrija, in Santander department, in addition to four processing laboratories for different product categories, two of which are located in Bogotá, one in Fort Lauderdale, and one at the plantation.
Regarding the status of the shipments, Merchán told Bloomberg Línea that “some are already in foreign ports, others are in transit in Bogotá and others are in cultivation, waiting to be shipped”.
“Once the client has received them, we expect to announce three different countries in the next two weeks,” he added.
Another local company, Plena Global, has received authorization to export
Alejandro González, commercial and marketing director of Plena Global in Colombia, said the company is now authorized to export cannabis flower to Israel, Australia and Austria, and they are evaluating Portugal, Germany and the United Kingdom as potential new markets.
But receiving the endorsement from the government was not an easy process, he says.
“It is great news for the country’s economy and for the companies, but it took a long time to arrive. It wasn’t until a year after the issuance of decree 811 that this became possible, and during that time companies burned capital, seeing their financial balances damaged. There was inefficiency,” González said.
Plena Global is a Canadian holding company that arrived in Colombia in 2018, when it bought the company Econnabis. It is located on a 30-hectare (74-acre) plot of land, with five hectares cultivated, in Nemocón, in the country’s Cundinamarca department.
“We are the only company that has the CUMCS-IMC good agricultural practices certification, which is indispensable if you want to enter the Israeli market, a strong market in the cannabis business,” he added.
At the end of July, Bloomberg Línea reported on the first export of dried cannabis flower from Colombia, by Allied Colombia SAS, and which was shipped to Switzerland and the United States, from the company’s plantation at Villa Silvia, a five-hectare farm located in La Mesa de Los Santos, in Santander department.
Everything indicates that both foreign sales and the number of Colombian companies exporting will continue to grow.
According to Colombian cannabis industry association Asocolcanna, Colombia could become the main supplier of the product at a global level due to its competitive advantages: the country has 12 hours of sunlight per day throughout the year, the capacity to produce between four and five harvests annually, and the guarantee of a stable supply, as well as lower cultivation costs compared to other exporters of dried flowers.