Colombian tobacco growers want to grow medicinal cannabis for lack of employment
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The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reported that the tobacco farmers who were engaged in the tobacco industry in the Santander area are studying the possibility of starting to grow medicinal cannabis in the absence of employment.
The reason is given that the multinational company Philip Morris who bought them the tobacco leaf will close operations through the Colombian Tobacco Company. The above has left more than 2,500 people without work.
Employers currently with a commercial license to plant medicinal cannabis welcome this initiative as they are experienced staff.
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Among them, Pharmacielo and the Colombian Association of Cannabis Industries, Asocolcanna and Blueberries Medical Corp.
“The business was over this year because that sheet was only bought by Philis Morris and nobody else. A good alternative would be to plant medicinal marijuana on a small scale, “said Fausto Adarme Lizarazo, tobacco grower and president of the Board of Directors of the Colombian Tobacco Federation, Fedetabaco.
Sales of tobacco plummet
The growth of the cannabis industry occurs in the context where the tobacco industry has had a significant decline. Between 2010 and 2017, the consumption of cigarettes was reduced from 12% to 7%, and it has been done through the Colombian measures to reduce the impact generated by this substance.
Also, it went from having 7000 hectares planted to only 1850 in the Santander area.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco has been seen as “one of the main risk factors for several chronic diseases such as cancer.” While to cannabis the institution recommended to the UN “to eliminate cannabis and resin from the list that classifies it as dangerous substances due to the evidence of its therapeutic effects.
“We would be willing to look for an alternative product to survive. For that reason we see viable to be able to cultivate medical marijuana in the hectares of tobacco that are planted in the department “, assured Adarme.
Since the International Board of Narcotics of the UN (INCB) granted to Colombia 44% of the exports of medicinal cannabis in the world, if this idea is concreted by the entrepreneurs of the area, Santander would become the largest crop area from the country.
Currently, nine companies have licenses to produce in Cauca, according to the Ministry of Health and Justice.