In the heart of the Bogotá savanna, where spectacled bears chew on bamboo hearts and Cachudita larks soar above lush plains, construction of the Colombian Cannabis Centre of Excellence is underway.

“We envision Cannabis Park as a place where the finest minds in the science and art of cannabis cultivation and production will gather for the benefit of the industry as a whole.”

International Cannabis Corp. hopes the facility will catapult Colombia to the forefront of marijuana production in Latin America. The 13ha property is just 20 miles from Bogotá International Airport, and the centrepiece will be a polycarbonate Cannabis Park.

“We envision Cannabis Park as a place where the finest minds in the science and art of cannabis cultivation and production will gather for the benefit of the industry as a whole,” said ICC chief executive Eugene Beukman. The Cannabis Park will take the form of a 1ha polycarbonate greenhouse that is expected to produce between 25,000 and 40,000 kilos of dried cannabis flower per year.

ICC is headquartered in Uruguay, the world’s first country to legalize recreational cannabis use, but it sees great potential in Colombia due to broad acceptance among politicians and the private sector, ideal growing conditions and a large domestic market.

Colombia has issued 142 cannabis cultivation licences to date, more than any other country in the Latin American and Caribbean region. “Colombia has become one of the world’s most attractive cannabis markets as international cannabis companies take advantage of favourable export laws,” said Stephen Murphy, managing director of market research firm Prohibition Partners.

ICC sees the construction of the Centre of Excellence as the first step in its bid to become a major global producer of recreational and medicinal cannabis. Its aim is to eventually produce 500,000 kilos of dried cannabis flower in Colombia each year.

Canadian producer Aurora recently snapped up ICC in a $220 million deal. It has offices in Montevideo and Vancouver, and Aurora will be able to use the marijuana it produces to supply the North American market as well as local consumers.

The firm holds licences to cultivate, produce, hold, sell, and export cannabis and its by-products from Colombia. Cannabis Park is designed to improve the quality of marijuana across the country and further afield. The idea is to test various cannabis strains and figure out the most efficient way to create potent strains and meet soaring global demand. It hopes to attract growers, geneticists, and service providers to work collegiately in pursuing revolutionary cannabis-centric projects and initiatives.