The United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board has assigned Colombia a quota of 56.5 tons (59,420 kg) of high-THC cannabis in 2020.

INCB officials recently visited Bogota to educate Colombians about the 1961, 1971 and 1988 international drug control conventions, which cover licensing and regulatory obligations. It has now decided to award Colombia a record high quota for 2020, covering high-THC cannabis for domestic sales and research purposes.

It means that Colombia accounts for 21.84% of the INCB’s global high-THC cannabis quota for 2020. That sounds like an exciting development for the South American nation, but the news must be taken with a pinch of salt.

The INCB sets quotas, but they are generally ignored. For example, Canada has no quota for high-THC cannabis, yet licensed producers are cultivating hundreds of thousands of kilos on an annual basis, in defiance of UN conventions.


Thailand is also busy creating a significant cannabis cultivation industry, despite the INCB warning that it is deeply concerned about the Southeast Asian nation flouting UN conventions. The Australian Capital Territory was also untroubled by the INCB accusing it of breaching the treaty conventions by legalizing adult-use marijuana, which is understandable when you consider that Uruguay, Canada, and several U.S. states have all legalized it.

The INCB is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body associated with the UN, dedicated to monitoring enforcement of restrictions on narcotics, but it is not a police force and it lacks the teeth to enforce its rules. It cannot punish any countries that flout conventions and it cannot remove any privileges they enjoy.

Yet Colombia is pleased to remain on the right side of the INCB, and leading producer Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV: KHRN) congratulated the government for securing the official allocation. “The 2020 quota guarantees access to new medical products that can transform patients’ lives,” said Juan Diego Alvarez, Khiron’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

The quota does not affect high-CBD strains that many producers are cultivating for medicinal purposes, and it also does not concern exports.

Khiron is currently the only cannabis company in Colombia with an allocation of quota to manufacture high-THC medical cannabis for commercial domestic purposes, and one of the few companies also authorized to meet export demand. Medcann has also received a THC production quota from the Ministry of Justice to export medical marijuana products.

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