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Ecuador Kicks Off Medical Cannabis Production

Ecuador isn’t the only country one might think of when it comes to cannabis reform. The country has been advancing in a well-organized manner into the international medical cannabis market. 

AYA Natural and Medical Products of Ecuador was the first Ecuadorian manufacturing company to start regulated GMP production.

Inauguration was attended by representatives from both the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade and Investment, Fisheries, National Institute of Popular and Solidarity Economy, and Deputy Minister of Production and Industries. This is a clear example of a senior government decision and coordinated effort to support the domestic cannabis industry as well as one that has global ambitions.

This is not surprising considering that many of their neighbours, such as Peru and Columbia, already operate in regional, if any, international supply chains.

Status of Cannabis Reform in Ecuador

The tiny country, located on the left coast in South America and bordered by Peru to its south, Columbia to the north, Brazil to east, the Pacific to west, and Peru to the south has been quietly working on cannabis reform. In 2008, the constitution of the country, “drug” consumption including the cannabis kind is not a criminal but rather a public health issue. The legalization of cannabis for personal use is limited to 10g. However, cannabis cannot be sold unless used for medicinal purposes. 

Legislators first suggested legalizing this industry in 2016 Ecuador’s National Assembly subsequently legalized medical use late in 2018 by a majority of 83-23. It wasn’t until late 2019, however, that the Organic Law Reforming the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code had been published. In June 2020 the Organic Law for the Comprehensive Prevention of the Socioeconomic Phenomenon of Drugs and Regulation and Control of the Use of Listed Substances Subject to Control Acts was adopted. The industry now has a legal footing. 

The initial focus was placed on the establishment of a high THC hemp industry. However, as in other areas, reform is now underway. COVID, evidently, has played an important role in delaying development, but this seems to be the end of a long period.

It is similar to many Central American and South American countries, with a favorable climate for outdoor cultivation. Its proximity to the Equator is a major reason for this. If you haven’t already manufactured marijuana products in other countries, the extensive coastline has been an asset for commodity crop exports. It includes North America but may also include Central and South America. As legalization spreads across the continent, cross-border commerce will open up. The government is clearly also interested in Europe. However, Australia and other countries are also beginning to import medical marijuana from overseas.

It also happens as Costa Rica continues to regulate its own cannabis and medical cannabis industries (literally, the same day) as Zimbabwe’s first cannabis processing facility.

It is a race for medical cannabis to be cultivated, produced and distributed.

How is The New Developing World Commodity Crop Different?

You can expect more law-abiding countries to be legalized, in particular in an effort for sustainable economic recovery. Expect to also see a rise in global medical production and price cuts in targeted destinations. This includes Europe, Germany, and places such as the UK.

How and where Central and South American cannabis production will fall in all of this is another matter, particularly in competition with Africa (particularly for European and Israeli markets) but the region is clearly putting the last century’s war on drugs behind it and opening itself to new possibilities with a cannabis scented odor.