First commercial medical cannabis export from Latin America sent to Australia


(Photo by Olaf Speier)

Uruguayan-based Fotmer Life Sciences announced Tuesday that the company has become the first to complete a “commercial export of medical cannabis from Latin America,” sending a shipment to Australia.

Only 10 kilograms of flower were shipped in this initial export. The company declined to put a value on the cargo.

But Jordan Lewis, Fotmer’s CEO, told Marijuana Business Daily that the shipment marks the first step to commence exporting 100 kilograms per month.

“This historical shipment opened a door for Latin America,” Lewis said.

The cargo was shipped by plane and has already arrived in Australia.

According to a company press release, Burleigh Heads Cannabis, a medical cannabis importer and subsidiary of Cannabis Doctors Australia (CDA) Health, purchased the Uruguayan product.

Fotmer was the first company to obtain a license to produce high-THC medical cannabis at scale in Uruguay. Currently, two other companies have a comparable permit in Uruguay:

  • Dormul, which was acquired earlier this year by Khiron Life Sciences.
  • Burey, which obtained a medical cannabis license about one month ago.

Of these three companies licensed to grow high-THC medical cannabis, only Fotmer has a license to process the flower. It allows the production of up to 5,000 kilograms of “raw extract” over a period of five years.

Only one company has a license to formulate final medicinal products: Medicplast. The company currently imports the cannabis extracts from Switzerland and finishes the production process in Uruguay.

Diego Olivera, head of the national drug agency, told MJBizDaily that Uruguayan authorities expect that the number of licenses for different activities along the supply chain will spread in the future as the industry becomes more mature.

“We would welcome a shift from this initial agricultural-focused stage to a new one with more value-added products”, Olivera said.

Applications for all types of licenses – other than for recreational cannabis – are accepted on an ongoing basis. The Uruguayan Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) is the principal regulator.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at