When he founded a medical cannabis company a year ago, Colombian Alvaro Torres learned that family members, friends, acquaintances and even the parents of some of his children’s schoolmates used cannabis to treat medical conditions. “I was shocked,” Torres recalls. “I didn’t realize just how prevalent the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes was.”
But he was heartened by the discovery and more convinced than ever that Colombia was a great place to build a cannabis company. The South American country legalized cannabis for recreational use six years ago, decriminalizing possession of up to 22 grams of dry flower and personal cultivation of up to 20 plants. (In contrast, in US states where recreational cannabis is legal, the cap on home grow ranges from six to 12 plants.) In December 2015, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree legalizing medical cannabis, approving the commercial cultivation, processing, and export of medical cannabis products such as oils and creams, though not the flower.