Ecuador legalized the cultivation of hemp up to 1% THC at the end of June, excluding it from the list of substances subject to the rules of the country’s Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP) and placing the plant under the jurisdiction of the agricultural authorities. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock must issue regulations on hemp within 120 days of the promulgation of the law.
It’s time to think outside the box. It is essential to look for options that create jobs and attract foreign exchange. The hemp industry is an alternative with high production potential and attractive to investors, hence the need to create these spaces for dialogue,” said Minister Iván Ontaneda.
The Federation of Cannabis Communities of Ecuador nevertheless regretted rules that prohibit the cultivation of hemp in border and coastal areas. It is also concerned that the proposed rules do not allow small producers and farmers to participate in the industry because of the financial requirements for licenses. These producers would most likely have to form some legal entity or association to comply with the new law.
The federation also criticized the law for giving the Ministry of Agriculture excessive powers to inspect, sanction, and destroy hemp crops and not taking into account environmental considerations related to the use of agrochemicals.
Ecua Cáñamo, the Ecuadorian Medicinal, and Industrial Hemp Association stressed that regulations should be simple and avoid the problems seen in other countries caused by over-regulation. She said that future rules should cover industrial applications to realize the economic promise, especially for export, of Ecuadorian hemp.
The country also expected to legalize medical cannabis soon.