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  • A farmer picks cannabis near Baalbek, Lebanon Aug. 13, 2018.

    A farmer picks cannabis near Baalbek, Lebanon Aug. 13, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 February 2019

Colombia’s Antioquia government will work with the University of Antioquia to produce and sell medical grade marijuana, joining a growing list of licit producers in the country.

The governor of Colombia’s Antioquia department says that the government will begin making medical marijuana for sale starting in March.

Luis Perez, leader of Antioquia in Central Colombia announced this week, via the Development Institute of Antioquia (IDEA), the signing a contract Mar. 17 with the University of Antioquia to produce and market medicinal cannabis under the name Cannabis Salud.

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"Let's start talking about something that has been hidden in the closet. Let’s talk about medicinal cannabis and give it a culture, a name and a market where we have competitive advantages," announced Perez this week adding, “We are going to produce medicines to market.

The Antioquia governor said that developers hope to create new varieties of the popular plant.

It has been nearly two years since Colombia’s Congress approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize its recreational use in May 2016, just as former President Manuel Santos was finalizing a peace accord with the Marxist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) group, wrongly blamed by many for fomenting the country’s coca production and cocaine sales.

Since coming into effect, the 2016 law has enabled 170 companies to begin either cultivating cannabis or selling it for medical purposes, 37 of them are registered to legally export their final product. In November 2018 alone, some 19 companies were licensed by the Ministry of Justice that oversees medical marijuana registrations.

Earlier this month the president of the Colombian medical marijuana company Clever Leaves, announced he was given the go ahead to export six varieties of cannabis.

Andres Fajardo told El Colombiano that 360 grams of material would be shipped to Canada.

"It will be the first export of medicinal grade cannabis from Colombia to the world, … a milestone for this industry." Fajardo added that by July, Clever Leaves will export its first batch of therapeutic cannabis to Europe for licit sale.

Colombia’s Minister of Health, Alejandro Gaviria said the legalization of medical cannabis is also enabling the country to position itself "as a center for research and development of therapeutic products derived from the plant."

Certain types and grades of marijuana are known to ease symtoms associated with epilepsy, chronic pain, anorexia, multiple sclerosis and to lessen the negative effects of chemotherapy, among other ailments.

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