Hemp is back in Chile, and the market is ready for investment


INTERVIEW: Barbara Galletti is co-founder and CEO of Pronatura Ltda., and co-creator of Nutranabis, the first Chilean brand exclusively dedicated to the re-introduction and commercialization of organic hemp products in Chile. Galletti’s work has been crucial in opening Chile’s hemp market by regularizing the process for import and sales of hemp products. Galletti will be a speaker at the Latin American and Caribbean Hemp Summit, Montevideo, Uruguay Nov 8-9, 2019.

Hemp Today: How has the hemp industry developed in Chile to this point?

Barbara Galletti: It has not been easy. There was no hemp market in the country. Our company also had to deal with a lot of misinformed authorities who did not understood the purpose of our business. It took our company more than two years and the work of a legal team to successfully open the way for the import and commercialization of hemp products to Chile. Since then the national hemp food market is steadily increasing. The time is just right for investment opportunities that boost the market to the next level.

Chile was one of the major hemp producers worldwide before the global ban on cannabis. We are thrilled to have created the first Chilean brand exclusively oriented to nutritional hemp products in the country. Hemp is back in Chile and it is here to stay and to grow.

HT: In terms of reaching the consumer market, what are your goals?

BG: Our company wants to offer the public all the nutritional and health benefits of this incredible superfood. Nutranabis sells hulled hemp nuts, protein powder and flour in different formats. We supply restaurants, caterers and other food companies as well as an increasing number of health stores. We are also developing a line of manufactured food products and we are seeking to expand our market to include full spectrum CBD and cosmetics. We look forward to working in partnership with other companies and investors to boost local hemp farming, create a national hemp association, increase international trade and reposition Chile as a major hemp producer.

HT: What can hemp do to help overcome poverty in Latin America?

BG: It seems difficult to reduce the level of poverty in our region with one business alone. However, the hemp industry has the potential to play a major part to overcome this situation. The organic hemp industry is in line with sustainable business principles, providing economic, social and environmental benefits. Companies around the world should focus on making positive changes to alleviate social and environmental challenges by including sustainability, circular economy, organic, fair trade and other concepts to their business.

These principles are essential not only to reduce poverty levels but also to promote social justice and a healthier planet. The hemp industry fits perfectly in this new business model. Moreover, the versatility of hemp and technological developments will make significant contributions to boost economies. The hemp industry needs more support from investors and governmental institutions, as well as hemp development policies to achieve these goals.

HT: How did you end up working in the hemp business?

BG: After studying the market, looking for a business opportunity that would have a meaning beyond economic profits, hemp became the perfect alternative. It is a business that is not only profitable but has incredible growth potential.

It is also sustainability oriented and can greatly contribute to solving current social and environmental challenges. It is a growing and sustainable industry almost nonexistent in Chile just a few years ago. So in 2014, my partner and I founded Pronatura with the aim to reopen the hemp market in Chile, starting with hemp food products.

North Macedonia banks on medicinal cannabis growth to boost economy, exports

STIP, North Macedonia (Reuters) - Slave Ivanovski was among North Macedonia’s biggest exporters of tomatoes and peppers until two years ago he switched to growing cannabis for medical use.

The country legalised the growth of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2016, joining a growing number of countries to have done so or be about to do so, such as Britain, Greece, Thailand and some U.S. states.

“This is a very profitable business, which does not require a lot of hard work and has a future,” Ivanovski told Reuters standing by a large cannabis plant in his greenhouse in Stip, south east of the capital Skopje.

Since 2017, North Macedonia has issued 28 licences for growth and production of cannabis oil and another 15 companies are waiting for permits. But so far very little has been produced and no exports have been made as producers hone their skills.

Ivanovski, who invested 10 million euros in buying land and technology, says achieving the required quality is the main challenge. He aims one day to export to Germany and Poland and will need to meet international standards.

Skopje is also changing the law to allow exports of cannabis flower.

“We expect the cannabis industry could generate as much as one percent of national output,” Venko Filipce, the country’s health minister told Reuters.

North Macedonia is one Europe’s poorest countries. Agriculture accounts for nearly eight percent of its national output, and ten percent of exports.


The government has ordered that a four metre-high wire fence topped with cameras must surround cannabis crops, which are also watched by security guards. Plants are indoors - either in halls or greenhouses.

“People thought it would be easy money and have invested in growing cannabis. But later they realised that the technology is costly and that expensive certificates are required,” said Konstantin Dukovski of the Association of Producers.

To promote the industry Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met with a U.S. businessman Michael Straumietis, who founded a company, Advanced Nutrients, specialising in nutrients for plants.

“Let me tell you, this country has huge potential, and I’m excited to be a part of turning Macedonia into one of Europe’s first Cannabis Superpowers,” Straumietis wrote on Instagram.

One North Macedonian cannabis producer, NYSK, is growing cannabis in the halls of an old chemical plant outside Skopje.

The air, water and soil all needed to be purified so the plants could be grown in sterile conditions and produce a medicine-grade crop.

“The industry is very specific, it has many secrets,” Sasho Sefanoski, chief operating officer of NYSK said. “Macedonia is good (to invest in) because resources are not as expensive as in other countries.”

According to a report by Imarc, the global medical cannabis market could rise in value to $44 billion by 2024, from an estimated $13.4 billion in 2018.

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Goran Andreski, a mechanical engineer bought land and is trying to set up production.

“People rushed in to invest because there is a long tradition of agriculture, but this business has nothing to do with agriculture, it is more pharmaceutical,” he said.

“The only guideline we got from the government is how tall the fence should be, everything else we have to figure out ourselves.”

3 weed stocks ready for epic growth

The pot industry is full of unknowns, yet investors are very much into the green rush. Global consumer cannabis spending could touch $16.9 billion this year, and marijuana sales worldwide could top $31.3 billion in 2022.

The optimistic forecast is only three years away. Now is the time to pick the pot stocks that are on the verge of growing in epic proportions.

CBD extraction providers

The business outlooks for Neptune Wellness (TSX:NEPT)(NASDAQ:NEPT) and MediPharm (TSXV:LABS) are favourable with the launch of new products in December this year. Both companies are the top names when it comes to extracting cannabidiol (CBD) from cannabis and hemp biomass.

CBD isolates are the main ingredients to create the new products that would be on sale soon. The cannabis producers would rely on Neptune and MediPharm to use innovative extraction and production methods to ensure the products would be of high quality.

The industry’s biggest extraction deal belongs to Neptune. This health and wellness turned cannabis extraction provider has a three-year with fellow cannabis firm The Green Organic Dutchman, or TGOD. Neptune will extract CBD from the 230,000 kilos of cannabis and hemp biomass that TGOD will supply.

Before the TGOD deal, the company had another three-year extraction services agreement with a significant industry player. Neptune will extract CBD from Tilray’s 125,000 kilograms of cannabis and hemp biomass. The deals guarantee Neptune’s cash flow for the next years.

Meanwhile, MediPharm is playing a crucial role in the advancement of CBD and the development of treatments for various medical conditions. The focus of this $571.5 million company is on cannabis concentrates.

MediPharm invests in a state-of-the-art extraction technology that is run by a research-driven team that uses downstream extraction methodologies. Its facilities are capable of producing purified, pharmaceutical-like cannabis oil and concentrates for advanced derivative products. Raking in cash therefore won’t be a problem.

MediPharm Labs’ process is a simple, but a high margin business model. The company receives dry cannabis flowers and trims from its product supply partners then produce cannabis oil concentrate. The end products would be for sale in the global market on a private label basis.

A solid partner for growth

Fire & Flower (TSXV:FAF) has a strong partner to help it capture a significant market share in Canada. The company’s digital platform is among the best locally. But in order to further achieve its goal of becoming a key player in North America’s cannabis industry, Fire & Flower welcomed a strategic investment from Alimentation Couche-Tard.

The cannabis retailer will use the funds to develop its Hifyre digital retail platform, a portion of which is for network expansion to add to the 23 licensed cannabis retail stores Fire & Flower is currently operating.

By combining its best-in-class retailing activities with Couche-Tard’s expertise in scaling retail stores, Fire & Flower could be a real force in the industry. You can also expect this small-cap cannabis specialist to make a big move soon —  it could list on either the NYSE or the NASDAQ.

Realistic growth

Neptune Wellness, MediPharm, and Fire & Flower are the budding wannabes with realistic chances of hitting it big in the cannabis industry. It’s your chance to purchase these stocks before the companies separate from the pack.

Paraguay to begin marijuana production for research and medical purposes

Paraguay will begin accepting applications for the domestic production of cannabis for medical and research purposes next month, according to an announcement made last week by the country’s health minister. Julio Mazzolini, the minister of public health and social welfare, said in a press conference in Asunción on Thursday that a resolution to establish the rules to apply for the country’s first commercial cannabis production licenses had been approved by the ministry.

Licenses for five vertically integrated cannabis cultivation and manufacturing operations will be available. The National Health Surveillance (Dirección Nacional de Vigilancia Sanitaria/DNVS) will accept applications for the five licenses from October 1 through 31. Applicants will be required to include a certificate of good manufacturing practices; a plan for cannabis cultivation, transportation, and security; and a separate plan for exports, if applicable. The applicants that are awarded the licenses will be required to put them into use within 24 months.

Arnaldo Giuzzio, the chief of Paraguay’s anti-drug agency (Secretaría Nacional Antidrogas/SENAD), told the press that licenses would only be available to operations located in the Central Department, the smallest but most populated of Paraguay’s 17 departments.

Medical Cannabis Legalized in 2017

Paraguay legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2017 and a decree to regulate the national program was approved the following year. Qualifying participants under the national program are guaranteed free access to hemp oil and other cannabis derivatives.

Under the decree, licensed manufacturers will be required to donate 2% of their production to the Ministry of Health, a provision reiterated by Mazzolini at Thursday’s press conference. The ministry will distribute the products to domestic patients with a proven scientific need free of charge.

Only patients with a condition for which there is scientific evidence that cannabis may be a beneficial treatment will be eligible for the national program. The nature and amount of required evidence are not clear. So far, the use of medical cannabis has been approved for the treatment of refractory seizures, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and other qualifying pain conditions.

Outside of the national program, a few patients who have demonstrated an exceptional need have received authorization to import cannabis products for medical purposes. One such patient is an adolescent with a rare form of severe epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Also last Thursday, Paraguay’s Senate approved a bill that would permit the possession and home cultivation of medical cannabis for qualified patients and caregivers under certain conditions. The bill must also be approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies before becoming law.