Organic food producer Organto Foods Inc. (CVE: OGO) has formed a global cannabis division after completing a deal to purchase Colombian medicinal marijuana firm Medicannabis S.A.S.

Organto has built up its business by working with farmers on four continents and supplying organic beans, peas, broccoli, and asparagus. But it sees great potential in the medicinal cannabis trade and it has brought in industry veteran Todd Dalotto to head up its new division.

Botany graduate Dalotto has chaired Oregon Health Authority’s advisory committee on medical marijuana since 2006 and has served as an industry consultant since 2000. He is experienced in horticultural research, plant biology, breeding and genetics, and he will work on crossbreeding Pacific Northwest strains with equatorial varieties to create high-quality cannabis flower.

It follows the completion of a deal to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of privately held Colombian medicinal marijuana producer Medicannabis. The firm is in the late stages of obtaining licenses that will allow it to cultivate and process cannabis in the South American nation. When it receives a cultivation license, Organto will issue 8 million shares to original Medicannabis shareholders, subject to a four-month hold period.

It expects it to all proceed smoothly and chairman Steve Bromley said he is excited to have entered the medicinal cannabis market. “Legalization of cannabis is a global trend presenting significant opportunities, and we believe that Latin America presents a unique opportunity to establish low-cost natural growing operations,” he added.

Dalotto now has ambitious plans to revolutionize the way cannabis is grown. Organto has bought 18 proprietary cannabis varieties that he has developed in the Pacific Northwest for the past 19 years. He is now crossbreeding them with Colombian strains that Medicannabis has developed for tropical mountain climates, said to exhibit the aroma, flavour, and medicinal qualities that aficionados expect.

The new hybrids are designed to yield a more successful and trouble-free crop. Organto believes it can now become a leading global supplier of high-quality cannabis cultivars adapted for equatorial regions. Dalotto sees great potential for production in the world’s equatorial regions and he wants to ensure his new employer is at the forefront of that movement.

The firm’s Colombian base will be located in Guasca, 30 miles northwest of Bogota, where it has a five-year lease on a farm. It plans to expand growing operations over the next 18 months, building hoop-houses for breeding trials and calling upon its vast experience in organic farming to become a significant player in edibles as well as flower production.