Ecuador’s first legal cannabis farm stands among rose crops (and aims to dominate the industry in no time)

Share your love

In Tabacundo, a town in the north of Ecuador known as the ‘world capital of the rose’, the first legal and formal cannabis cultivation of the South American country rises.

In the middle of large areas of land dedicated to planting flowers is the cultivation of CannAndes, a company that receives that name referring to cannabis from the Andes, which was born within the Boutique Flower’s floriculture, where for now it occupies one hectare of the extensive plantation, of the nine that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock authorized the firm .

“This is the first time that cannabis has been planted in Ecuador like this legally. Here you can see cannabis plantations in commercial quantities“, says, in an interview with MRT, Klaus Graetzer, president of CannAndes and who makes up the company together with Felipe Norton and Alfredo López.

In the tour of the room you can see the planting area, another smaller space that is the propagation greenhouse – where the little plants start, which are planted by seeds and cuttings -, a place for drying the plants, another one. for storage at low temperatures, a laboratory for extraction and study of the plants and offices of the firm.

In addition to the nine hectares that can be used in Tabacundo for growing cannabis, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock approved CannAndes 45 more in two other properties, located in different parts of Ecuador.

Below 1% THC

Graetzer points out that he and his partners are pioneers in this business in the country, since they began to work on the initiative, doing the respective studies, long before the Ecuadorian legislation favored them. In August 2019 they were granted registration as a seed importer.

Just in December 2019, the National Assembly approved the decriminalization of non-psychoactive cannabis in the country, which is the one that they allow to cultivate, by establishing in article 127 of the Organic Law Reformation to the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code the following: “Non-psychoactive cannabis or hemp is excluded from the listed substances subject to control, understood as the cannabis plant and any part of said plant, whose content of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is less than 1% in dry weight, whose regulation is the competence of the National Agrarian Authority “.

Read Also   Diplomatic tension: Chile updated the limits of its continental shelf and the Argentine Foreign Ministry accused the country of trying to appropriate national territory

Later, in October 2020, Ministerial Agreement 109 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was announced, which established the “regulations for importing, sowing, cultivating, harvesting, post-harvesting, storage, transportation, processing, marketing and export. of non-psychoactive cannabis or hemp and hemp for industrial use “.

In this same regulation, the cannabis plant was classified as “non-psychoactive genetics plants” and “psychoactive genetics plants”. The first are those that contain less than 1% THC of their dry weight and the second have a percentage equal to or greater than 1% of THC, which would already be marijuana, considered illegal in the country and its cultivation constitutes a criminal offense.

In these regulations, they relied on CannAndes to establish the company and, as established by law, its cultivation must be below 1% THC; A matter that is constantly monitored by Stalin Suntaxi, who is in charge of the laboratory they have on the same farm in Tabacundo.

Graetzer explains that Cannabidiol (CBD) predominates in the seed of its cultivation and it has very little THC, both are cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and stand out for their therapeutic qualities. The difference is that the first does not have psychoactive effects and the second does.

The company already has the licenses issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to work in this industry, which are: for the importation and sale of seeds; for the production and sale of seeds and cuttings; for the production of non-psychoactive cannabis and industrial hemp; for plant breeding and genebanks; for production and processing of derivatives; and for marketing and export.

Read Also   Germany activates supercomputers to make energy and mobility more efficient

Although they are the pioneers, they are not the only ones. According to Graetzer, there are already more than 40 companies in Ecuador trying to embark on the business; however, it ensures that no other reaches the level that they have advanced.

“Many companies are entering the industry right now, they are just starting out, they are just establishing themselves, obtaining permits, seeing the seeds, so it will take them one or two years to stabilize and reach the point that we are now,” he said.

The advantages of the country

“The moment Ecuador enters this industry, as a country, it breaks the board, because it has the potential to dominate it in a very short time,” emphasized Graetzer.

He mentions that Ecuador basically has two advantages over other countries that already have an established cannabis industry, such as Uruguay or Canada, which are the climate and experience as one of the best rose growers in the world.

Regarding the climate and geographical conditions, the CannAndes head explains that of the 13 countries that are crossed by the equatorial line, Ecuador is the only one that is “in a part of a mountain range (the Andes) where it is closer to the sun “, which benefits crops because it favors photosynthesis. They even highlight the benefits of the soil of Tabacundo, which is rich in nutrients, being volcanic, due to the fact that the Cayambe volcano rises a few kilometers away.

As for the experience as a floricultural country, this allows it to “do something that it already knows how to do” and more so when considering that the cultivation of cannabis is easier than that of roses.

“I do not see a way where Ecuador in the next five years does not completely dominate the world of cannabis”, highlights Graetzer.

The products

The objective of CannAndes is to sell the raw material and, in addition, its own cannabis-based products. For the development of these is Nina Tapia, who also makes up the team.

Read Also   The Squid Game: a teacher used the scary doll to prevent his students from cheating on an exam

She mentions that cannabis functions as a “regulating axis of the body’s physiological and pathological processes.” Then, he adds, “you can be taking it to improve sleep, but you are also improving blood sugar levels and without realizing it begins to circulate better. […] it regulates your appetite and then you lose weight because your metabolism speeds up. “

Tapia indicates that so far they have developed 18 products, which includes a line of cosmetics, which includes shampoo, conditioner, soap, body oil, deodorant, disinfectant gel, moisturizer, among others.

“If you put cannabis on your skin, you can treat everything from dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, acne, to having a brighter and healthier skin and thereby preventing melanomas,” he says.

Also, comment that they are “working on a grocery line”, which includes chocolates, alfajores, gummies, tea, beers, coffee, aromatic waters, among others. They have also developed food supplement droppers.

The products are not yet for sale, since they must have the registry issued by the National Agency for Regulation, Control and Sanitary Surveillance (ARCSA).

In the future they also hope to take advantage of the plant stem, whose fiber, Graetzer says, can be used, for example, to make cloth. “We are saving all these stems and we have an alliance with some universities so that they and the industry begin to develop, “he said, while noting that hemp can also be used to obtain biofuels and bioplastics.

CannAndes’ plan is to open a store in Quito, so that people know ‘in situ’ the benefits of CBD, in order to end the stigmatization of the cannabis plant, whose illegality barely dates back to the first decades of the 20th century .

Edgar Romero G.

If you liked it, share it with your friends!

Article Source

Share your love