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Report: Latin American cannabis market could be worth $13 billion by 2028

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Latin America’s cannabis industry could be the next big thing, according to the LATAM Cannabis Report.

The region has “emerged from the shadows” over a two-year period, with the exponential growth of Latin America’s cannabis industry enticing an influx of international investment.

By the end of the year, legal weed sales are estimated to accrue $125 million. Within a decade, the figure could soar to $12.7 billion.

Report on Latin America’s cannabis industry was compiled by a British team

The LATAM Cannabis Report was released by a team of international cannabis industry consultants in the United Kingdom called Prohibition Partners. What this team does is actually on the opposite end of the prohibition spectrum. Rather than supporting prohibition, the group is committed to monitoring and encouraging the growth of the legal cannabis sector amidst the rise of cannabis reform.

By analyzing region-wide cannabis consumption figures, prices and patient datasets, Prohibition Partners was able to estimate the prospective value of Latin America’s cannabis industry. Medical cannabis will account for the biggest share of market value, with medical sales expected to earn the region as much as $8.5 billion by 2028.

Report indicates Latin America’s cannabis industry may undercut competitors report on Latin America’s cannabis market foresees the region undercutting cannabis prices elsewhere around the globe. Uruguay got the ball rolling when the country passed a law to legalize the plant back in December 2013. Since this time, 10 Latin American countries have legalized medical cannabis in some form.

“Offering a low-cost alternative to North American and European markets, licensed producers will look to cultivate in Latin America, creating an international export market,” reads the report.

“Latin America has a prospective market of over 500 million adult use customers and 4.3 million patients, making it a core priority in cannabis companies’ global strategy. Its low-cost agricultural exports and increasing support for the legalization of recreational cannabis means it could play a pivotal role in the international cannabis industry,” the team added.

Report on Latin America’s cannabis industry spotlights nine countries

Currently, the only country in Latin America that is fiercely pushing for weed exports is the former playground of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. However, the LATAM Cannabis Report predicts that other countries in the region will follow suit.

Let’s take a closer look at Latin America’s cannabis market and the countries that are expected to contribute to what could be a billion-dollar industry:

  • Argentina – In March of last year, a medical cannabis law was passed, but Argentina’s medical cannabis industry has not gained momentum quite yet. Recreational cannabis is permitted in small amounts, but private cultivation is prohibited.
  • Brazil – Three years ago, a medical cannabis law was passed in what is acknowledged as the largest country in both South America and Latin America. Under this law, the use, sale, and importation of CBD products is permitted. Weed has been decriminalized in Brazil since 2006. However, cultivation of the plant is forbidden. On the plus side, Brazil has been given the go-ahead to receive CBD oil imports from an American company called Medical Marijuana Inc.
  • Chile – The sale and use of medical cannabis extracts has been allowed in this coastal country since Chile’s legislature passed a law in 2015. The Daya Foundation oversees medical cannabis cultivation in Chile, where citizens can grow a maximum of six plants under the country’s broad decriminalization policy.
  • Colombia – Two years after medical cannabis was legalized by a 2015 presidential decree, the Colombian government set up a legal infrastructure for commercial cannabis cultivation. Despite being legal for specific medical uses, as well as being decriminalized for personal consumption and cultivation, weed remains to be illegal for commercial sale and public consumption in Colombia.
  • Mexico – In June of last year, the former President Enrique Peña Nieto approved a bill to legalize weed for medical purposes in Mexico. To this date, only products containing CBD are legally allowed on prescription. However, access to cannabis in Mexico could be a lot easier in the future, what with a Supreme Court ruling putting an end to the country’s cannabis prohibition just last week.
  • Panama – Cannabis cultivation and consumption was banned in Panama way back in 1923. Nevertheless, the country opened the door to medical cannabis legalization this year, when Bill 595 (the “Bill”) was introduced.
  • Paraguay – Paraguay is one of the world’s leading cannabis producers. The import of cannabis oil was authorized by Paraguay under the control of the Health Ministry in May of last year. During the first month of this year, domestic medical cannabis cultivation was approved after a bill was passed by lawmakers.
  • Peru – Although it is illegal to consume cannabis for recreational purposes in Peru, possession has been decriminalized by Art. 299 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, cannabis oil was legalized for medical purposes last year.
  • Uruguay – Cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in Uruguay, which is not really surprising, considering the fact President Jose Mujica signed legislation to legalize adult-use weed in December 2013.

LATAM Cannabis Report also spotlights other countries

Aside from Latin America’s cannabis industry, two other counties are also featured in the LATAM Cannabis Report, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Medical cannabis was legalized three years ago in Jamaica, where pot-praising Rastafarians have reaped the benefits of cannabis decriminalization since 2015.  Then there’s the Cayman Islands. A British Overseas Territory, the Caymans boasts a blissful beach setting for blazing up a doobie. However, the cannabis law that was passed in this three-island territory back in 2016 was purely for medicinal pot products.

You can access the entire 69-page LATAM Cannabis Report here.

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Report: Latin American cannabis market could be worth $13 billion by 2028