Legalization of cannabis in North America allows companies like West Coast Ventures Corp. (OTC: WCVC) develop in the local settings. Big players such as Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) invest in the medicinal sector in Argentina.
The cannabis industry is thriving in North America. Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuna at the end of last year. In the U.S. legalization in ongoing on a state level, with some states allowing medicinal cannabis and others opening doors to recreational use as well. Colorado was one of the first states that legalized it fully in 2012, giving the industry an opportunity to develop.
The legislation is beneficial to both private and public sectors. The government of Colorado has recorded over $6 billion revenue coming from cannabis sales since legalization. Local businesses benefit too. West Coast Ventures Corp.’s (OTC: WCVC) Illegal Burger restaurants that offer a permanent CBD menu, experience an increasing popularity. The IB CitiSet location is on pace to reach $700,000 in sales in its first full year of operations. The IB Writer Square, in Downtown Denver, is also on track to exceed $1 million this year.
The growing cannabis market in North America is searching for the product’s supply, which opens opportunities to South American countries like Argentina.
In the absence of international investment in Argentina, cannabis is one of the few sectors that manages to overcome the fears of foreign companies. In the midst of the run against the weight and political uncertainty that the country lives, the Canadian company Canopy Growth Corporation announced its landing in the Argentine market pointing to the business of medicinal cannabis.
The Canadian firm, which is the first in North America in its field to be listed on the Stock Exchange, has just closed a cooperation agreement with Ubatec (Technological Linkage Unit that depends on the University of Buenos Aires) to promote medical education programs in medicinal cannabis.
“We are coming to Argentina within a process of expansion in the region, which began a year and a half ago with the start of operations in Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru and now Argentina. In all cases, what we are doing in Latin America is an incursion into the medical cannabis business, although in Canada we also participate in recreational cannabis,” Marcelo Duerto, country manager of Canopy Growth Corporation Argentina, told LA NACION.
Duerto explained that at least in a first stage Canopy’s operations in Argentina will be limited to the promotion of clinical studies on the benefits of medicinal cannabis, although he does not rule out that at some point the company will begin to bring product to the local market. “We understand that what is needed in Argentina is education and science and that is why for now we are going to promote agreements with universities to set up training courses for doctors and medical students, with the aim of broadening the base of people who know the use of medicinal cannabis and promote research,” said the number one of Canopy Argentina.
Duerto acknowledged that the task ahead is no small one. “There is a stigma between recreational and medicinal use, that’s why the development of scientific evidence is important,” explains the executive who came to Canopy after 26 years at Accenture, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry.
At Canopy, they argue that medicinal cannabis represents a potentially billion-dollar business. “In Latin America alone, we believe that there are four million patients who could benefit from the use of cannabis. Of that total, there are approximately 400,000 who are Argentine and who face different pathologies such as pain, epilepsy, fibromyalgia or anxiety, which could be treated with medicinal cannabis,” explains the executive.
Canopy Growth was set up in 2013 and is currently the world’s largest company in its field, with a market capitalization in excess of US$14 billion. The firm has among its shares the group Constellation, which is the number one international player in the business of alcoholic beverages, and among other companies controls the beers Corona and Modelo.