The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will force countries to find new ways to relieve the economy. As in Costa Rica, one of the options of interest to Ecuador is the medical cannabis and hemp industry.
Ecuador’s Minister of Production and Foreign Trade, Iván Ontaneda, published on his Twitter account that medical cannabis would be “a great opportunity for Ecuador”, with thousands of jobs and dollars at stake.
Responding to a tweet from a user, he wrote: “I agree with you, the medical and industrial cannabis industry is a great opportunity for the country, it will generate thousands of jobs and dollars”.
Medical cannabis in Ecuador
Ecuador technically legalized medical cannabis last year. The reforms were published in the official registry on 24 December 2019, but the Ministries of Agriculture and Health were given six months to issue regulations on the production and dispensing of cannabis. The new regulations will enter into force on 24 June, and will be jointly governed by the aforementioned ministries, as the Technical Secretariat for Drugs, the Secretaría Técnica de Drogas, was abolished on 24 April 2018.
The future law will decriminalize the possession of cannabis when it is for medical purposes and justified by professional diagnosis. However, the cultivation and sale of cannabis would be prohibited except for pharmaceutical products. At the same time, the law will take cannabis with -1% THC out of the controlled plants.