Argentine company says it will make first shipments of hemp to Europe, Australia

Hemp Today reports

A government-held company said it will make Argentina’s first export shipments of hemp to three countries, where it sold a total 730 kilos of high-CBD, low-THC flowers.

Cannava S.E., owned by the Jujuy province, said it has agreements to ship the raw material to Germany, Portugal and Australia. Gastón Morales, the company’s president, said the hemp buds will be sold in authorized pharmacies and will not be processed into CBD oils.

Cannava will export about 200 kilos to Australia, 400 to Portugal and 130 to Germany, the company said.

Robust $$ predictions

Morales said contracts with customers in the three countries are expected to bring total turnover of €5 million ($5.4 million) this year, and estimates “sustained growth” in demand of around 5% annually. He projected the state company will generate €150 or €200 million “over the next 15 to 20 years.”

Cannava began working on efforts to place its flowers abroad in 2023 when Morales and his team traveled to Switzerland and Germany seeking commercial deals with European companies. That was after Argentina legalized hemp production two years ago and set rules last year.

Argentina established the THC limit for industrial hemp at 1.0%. While regulations do not allow CBD production or sales in-country, the relatively high limit means more efficient production of CBD flowers because CBD content in hemp rises in proportion to THC – meaning the buds are highly CBD potent. The hemp buds Cannava is exporting, however, do not exceed 0.3% THC, according to the company.

Just getting started

Argentina passed a law legalizing hemp in 2022 – a major advancement in a country long considered a potential hemp powerhouse in Latin America. Argentina’s cannabis framework allows hemp to move into the farming mainstream in one of the world’s leading agricultural nations, where the crop can serve as a replacement for a shrinking tobacco sector, and lead to innovation in technology and product development, the government has said.

The government formed the Regulatory Agency for the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME) as a central clearinghouse for administration of the cannabis industry, assigning it a broad mandate to promote research and technological progress, ensure consumer safety and cooperate with state agencies and universities.

But the rules exclude the processing of CBD itself, which is restricted under a 2020 decree that made CBD- and THC-based products legal to import but only for medical patients, with sales restricted to pharmacies under doctor prescriptions.

Whole-plant strategy

The government is advancing a whole-plant strategy for hemp that aims to exploit the crop for its health and environmental benefits in addition to its potential for economic development. Permitted uses include human and veterinary medicines, nutritional, cosmetic, and industrial, as well as future applications which may emerge from ongoing research and technological development.

Argentina’s Ministry of Science has said it intends to invest more than $106 million in 13 research and development projects in hemp and cannabis across six provinces. Also, the government last year created Cannabis Conicet, a technology company aimed at advancing the industrial hemp and medical cannabis sectors.

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