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Kann Kaffee Kolumbiens Landwirte vor dem Cannabis-Boom retten?
 05/09/2018 - 09:00:00

Kolumbien befindet sich zur Zeit inmitten eines Cannabis-Booms, der das Land zu einem der größten Exporteure medizinischen Marihuanas lassen werden könnte. Die kolumbianischen Kleinbauern hingegen bleiben mit Zukunftsängsten zurück. Ein italienisches Unternehmen, Hesalis, glaubt, dass ausgerechnet Kaffee, das altbewährte Zugpferd der kolumbianischen Wirtschaft, die Lösung des Problems bereithält.


Colombia’s small farmers are being forced out of the race

In 2015, when former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a law allowing the cultivation of medical marijuana , the goal was to implement a crop substitution program that would give thousands of small farmers across Colombia the chance of a growing legal market benefit while eliminating the damage caused by Colombia’s drug past.

Today, however, the new licensing system is causing smallholders to no longer compete with the large companies currently settling on Pablo Escobar’s former playground. So far, 33 licenses have been granted, with which Colombia can produce up to 40.5 tonnes of cannabis per year, which accounts for about 44 percent of total world production .

Cannavida, Pharmacielo Holdings, Khiron Life Sciences Corp., Canmecol and Medcann are just some of the companies licensed to grow medicinal marijuana for the production of oils, creams and inhalers, all of which are manufactured in laboratories and sold to patients on prescription.

„We have come up with a sound science-based model that focuses on health and on patients … not on practices like smoking. This may also be useful for other countries that have recently passed laws on medicinal cannabis but have opted against the production of cannabis, which in turn opens up economic opportunities for Colombian companies, including smallholders, “ said Andres López , Head of the National Narcotics Fund in Colombia, the organization tasked with regulating the new industry.

The new system was introduced to prevent illegal cannabis from entering the market and provides that licensed companies interested in the development of past conflict zones must provide farmers with at least 10 percent of the production area. Under these conditions, companies employ farmers. Pharmacielo, which operates a 12-hectare pilot project in Corinto, employs 18 farmers per hectare, but farmers receive only half a hectare .

Considering that it costs about $ 20 million a year to build a profitable business with the required laboratories and equipment, many small farmers feel they have been given false hopes. Farmers who want to get into a legal business are now wondering if it’s worth the effort. Hector Sanchez is a small farmer who has destroyed his marijuana plantation to become part of a medical cooperative and warns that if „growers are not involved, they will simply return to growing normal marijuana“.

Colombia’s cannabis confusion

While the government remains determined to create a reputable, licensed medical marijuana market that will clean up Colombia’s reputation, it continues to cause confusion among growers and consumers and fails to eliminate any stigma associated with the plant.

Some Colombians are concerned that the new medical marijuana scheme is sending the wrong message to the country’s youth. In a Washington Post article , Rafael Nieto, former Deputy Minister of Justice, said: „By saying that it can be grown commercially and has medicinal benefits, we not only tell our children that marijuana is not bad, but that it is actually good for them her health is. I’m sorry, but I just do not believe it. „

The stigmatization of marijuana in Colombia goes deep. Before Mexico became the source of recreational marijuana in America, Colombian weed was what everyone smoked. At that time, it was illegally smuggled into the US and the proceeds were used to finance years of violence. No Colombian wants a return to those dark days, which is why the government is so eager to make growers serious .

Once again, seeing other nations capitalizing on Colombia’s natural resources, the Colombians‘ frustration is easily comprehensible. Since 2012, when cannabis was decriminalized in Colombia, Colombians can grow up to 20 plants at home and own up to 20 grams. While foreign companies are allowed to plant arable weeds, any Colombian caught more than 20 grams can face great difficulties .

In addition, how easy it would be for small farmers to establish their own markets. That’s because Colombia has the perfect climate for outdoor growing: natural and year-round 12-hour days and nights – a 12/12 photoperiod that produces potent weeds like the notorious Colombian Gold. The plants that grow there are large – they grow two meters in height – and bushy and available throughout the year.

Thus, Colombia is in an ideal position to supply any market for leisure consumption, which in Europe alone is expected to reach 135 million euros by 2028 . As Europe moves towards regulation, Colombian Canna companies are on the hunt for export markets. The Canadian company Khiron Life Sciences is planning to sell cannabis throughout Latin America through a number of branded clinics that will serve as a kind of farm-to-table variou pharmacy .

Combine coffee and cannabis

For the CEO of the Italian cannabis company Hesalis , Emilio Petrucci, the combination of cannabis and coffee was one way around these problems. As a Colombian who moved to Terni in 2005, Petrucci holds a unique position in being well acquainted with the value of premium coffee in Italy and the ideal growth conditions prevailing in Colombia.

As a cannabis entrepreneur seeking to explore the social side of the market, working with Colombian farmers in the production of marijuana and hemp coffee provided a great opportunity he could not afford to miss. His goal was „to create a new world of coffee tastes on par with the excellence of Italian espresso.“

The project is still in its infancy and Hesalis introduced the hemp-enriched coffee in Italy and Spain at the beginning of the year. The new coffee brand is called Joint Espresso – and when it was presented at fairs, „the response was incredible,“ says Petrucci, who insists that what Hesalis did is not that revolutionary. To achieve the unique aroma of coffee beans, Hesalis coffee and cannabis plants builds side by side.

„In their natural environment, different plants grow together, so our idea is not radical, but just imitates what nature intends anyway,“ says Petrucci. „The beauty of cultivating these two plants is that they naturally absorb the terpenes of others and create a range of amazing flavors.“

So far, 13 farmers on 50 acres are producing fortified coffee for Hesalis, but hope to expand the project in the future. As the market for cannabis products continues to grow and Colombia continues to grow mountains of weed, it would not be surprising if everyone in the future would drink their coffee enriched with premium Colombian gold. That would certainly be a welcome development for the small farmers in Colombia.

The post Kann Kaffee Kolumbiens Landwirte vor dem Cannabis-Boom retten? appeared first on Sensi Seeds Blog.

Original Artikel: Kann Kaffee Kolumbiens Landwirte vor dem Cannabis-Boom retten?

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