Welcome to the club, Colombia.
On Tuesday, the South American nation’s president put his signature on a decree that formally legalizes the cultivation and sale of medical cannabis.
Although MMJ has technically been legal in the country since 1986, the new law will establish a regulatory structure for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana – in effect creating an industry around the drug.
The move could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in medical cannabis sales, as the nation could see up to 400,000 patients register for the program, according to the Associated Press.
Under the regulations, would-be growers will need to obtain licenses from the National Narcotics Council, and those interested in manufacturing cannabis-based medicines will have to get permits from the country’s health ministry. The ministry will also oversee exporting MMJ to countries where it’s legal.
The new law will also allow for the import and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, the AFP reported.
Colombia is the latest in a string of countries – mostly in Latin American and Europe – to loosen up MMJ laws in 2015.
Colombia’s president emphasized that he does not intend to open the door to recreational marijuana, saying the law is intended only to support the medical use of cannabis.