With the appointment of PharmaCielo Ltd. Chairman Simon Langelier as a non-executive director, “Imperial Brands Plc gained the services of a leader in the field of medicinal cannabis as the British tobacco manufacturer seeks to further its push beyond cigarettes,” writes Bloomberg. Langelier joined PharmaCielo in 2015 after a 30-year career at Philip Morris International, which included heading up the next-generation products unit from 2007-2010. During that period he established a joint venture for the worldwide commercialization of Philip Morris’s smoke-free products. Bloomberg notes Langelier’s experience at PharmaCielo will be beneficial should Imperial choose to enter a future federally legal US cannabis market, which is projected to surpass $50 billion in sales this decade.
If illicit pot plants flourishing covertly in the Colombian countryside represent the marijuana industry’s past, then Canada’s commercial-scale medical licensing system represents its future. PharmaCielo Ltd., a privately held medical marijuana producer with global ambitions, is hoping to capitalize on both those traditions. The company, which has board members from U.S. big tobacco and big pharma, is headquartered in Canada — a decision made due to this country’s sophisticated medical cannabis regulations, friendly financial markets and growing base of accountants, lawyers and bankers with cannabis expertise. But for production, it’s focused on Colombia, where it is hoping to become the first government-approved marijuana producer following the country’s decades-long battle against drug trafficking. ... President Juan Maneul Santos legalized medical marijuana in 2015. PharmaCielo was the first company in Colombia to be granted an extraction licence, but it is still awaiting a cultivation licence — it is ready to grow as soon as that goes through and plans to start selling mid-2018
Colombia’s cannabis business was long overseen by the country’s largest rebel group, which dominated this region of Cauca, taxed its drugs and became internationally notorious for trafficking in billions of dollars in illicit substances. But when the government signed a peace deal with the fighters last year, the state swept in and reclaimed this remote mountain village, threatening to end the trade. But now, local citizens have an unlikely option: growing marijuana with the government’s blessing instead. A Canadian company called PharmaCielo, with the government’s approval, is working to produce the drug legally in Colombia and is looking to hire. It is an unorthodox experiment by Colombia, one that underscores the region’s changing attitudes toward drugs after decades of fighting them. In the coming weeks, the government says, it will begin processing licenses for a small number of companies, including PharmaCielo, under a 2015 law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana. Rarely has a country taken an illegal drug overseen by a criminal organization and tried to replace it with the same crop produced legally, sold by corporations. “Here we have an entirely new opportunity,” said Alejandro Gaviria, Colombia’s health minister, whose agency is issuing the licenses. He argues legal drugs could become an important economic tool for postconflict Colombia. Federico Cock-Correa, who heads up PharmaCielo’s Colombia subsidiary and promises to pay his growers far more than what they earned during the war, said government officials were fascinated by the idea of using legal, medical cannabis as a tool for development once the rebels were out of the picture. The 2015 law allows medical marijuana cultivation for the domestic market and the export of medical marijuana products like oils and creams.
In Colombia … “The medical marijuana industry can become bigger than coffee, bigger than flowers,” said Patricio Stocker, CEO of PharmaCielo, the first company licensed to roll out production of medical marijuana in Colombia. “Our aim is to help the most [troubled] regions in the country [as] Colombia is getting out of a war and getting into a peace process,” he said. “It is not just developing the cannabis business. This will help generate funds to develop other businesses. Politicians and local communities want to develop the region and cannabis, combined with other agricultural activity, will take them out of poverty.”
Jim Rogers, who retired from the Quantum Fund, cofounded with George Soros, at age 37 and is well known for his insight into commodity markets, seems pretty bearish these days on almost everything, but one commodity he likes is cannabis, especially that which will be grown in Colombia. According to the New York Times, Rogers is an investor in PharmaCielo, a Canadian company we have featured several times over the past few months that is developing an export business in the Rionegro region. He also serves as an advisor.
Like many drug barons in Colombia, Federico Cock-Correa wants to sell his product globally. Just 15 miles outside Medellín, Mr. Cock-Correa is looking to replace vast acres of flowers with marijuana plants, with plans to export the harvest. But unlike the brutal heroin and cocaine trade that once flourished nearby, his operation has the government’s stamp of approval.
As Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed into law on July 8 the scientific and medical use of marijuana, it offers new prospects for turning illegal drugs into positive uses. This law, first drafted in 2014, met with strict opposition from conservative political forces, before Santos approved it, stating it was part of a new strategy to deal differently with the war on drugs in the country. Colombia has strict rules concerning the production, sale, import and export, transportation or use of the seeds of marijuana.
Tras recibir la licencia para procesar plantas de cannabis con fines médicos y científicos, la compañía PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings, ubicada en Rionegro, Antioquia, solicitará la licencia complementaria para cultivar la marihuana requerida. La autorización de procesamiento fue otorgada por el Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social, pero la aprobación para el cultivo debe concederla el Consejo Nacional de Estupefacientes.