Ending a ban on the country's export of the dried cannabis flower, Colombian President Ivan Duque signed a decree on Friday in an event organised at Clever Leaves, one of the 18 multinationals that grow medicinal cannabis in Colombia, in a bold embrace of a booming global market.
The green light means Colombia can now export dried cannabis flowers for use in medical products in addition to allowing manufacturers to produce goods such as textiles or food containing the plant.
Colombia "is coming in as a major player in the international market" for cannabis, Duque said, according to AFP inputs.
Colombia, the world's top producer of cocaine and which has major cannabis production, legalised the production of medical marijuana in 2016.
According to the government, the medicinal cannabis market may be worth $64 billion by 2024.
Uruguay, Ecuador, and Peru are among the nations in the area that have authorised marijuana cultivation for therapeutic purposes.
Until now, however, it was only allowed to export extracts of the plant, not its flowers.
Authorities had feared that exportation of the flowers would allow them to be diverted to the illegal side of the trade.
In a letter sent to Duque on July 14, the cannabis cultivation company Canamonte argued that a rule against exportation of the flowers prevented growers from "accessing the largest and most profitable market segment of the medical cannabis industry."
Flowers, which concentrate the plant's medicinal and psychoactive compounds, "may represent 53% of this market worldwide," according to Duque.
The new authorization also allows for the manufacture of "non-psychoactive derivatives" from the plant.
"We are no longer only in pharmaceutical use. We are opening the space to do much more in cosmetics... food and beverages" and even textiles, the president said.
Fabian Currea, Canamonte's director of cultivation, told AFP that ending the ban on exporting flowers "gives us the chance to explore new markets" and take advantage of the plant's low production costs in Colombia.
The rule also "helps control the informal market for fraudulent products" based on marijuana that has had a recent boom in Colombia, Currea said.