Colombia Strives to Lead Global Pot Market, Pushing Out Peasant Growers


With foreign capital pouring in to Colombia’s newly legalized cannabis sector, industry leaders foresee the country becoming the world leader in production and exports — a new “Saudi Arabia of cannabis.” However, traditional peasant producers fear they will not have access to the legal market, but will continue to face repression and eradication. Over the past generation, the global “war on drugs” — overwhelmingly pursued with U.S. foreign aid money and under Pentagon direction — has militarized Colombia and escalated violence in the country. But now, amid a peace process with the guerillas, the country is increasingly looking to legal cannabis as a way out of its long crisis. Paradoxically, it could trade on its notorious reputation as marijuana producer to become a global leader in the burgeoning legal industry. This was the clear portrayal in a glowing March 10 story in the Washington Post, where reporter Anthony Faiola wrote, “Colombia is looking to exchange gun-toting traffickers for corporate backers in a bid to become the Saudi Arabia of legal pot.” Quoted is Camilo Ospina, chief innovation officer for the Canadian-owned PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings. “Our advantage is that the Colombian brand already has a mystique,” he said. Colombia Strives to Lead Global Pot Market, Pushing Out Peasant Growers

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