Hemp production is booming in Uruguay, where acreage this year has tripled.
Bloomberg reported that nine companies are authorized to plant about 3,000 acres of hemp this year, up from 988 acres in 2016.
Sergio Vazquez, who evaluates and monitors hemp projects as head of a technical advisory body at the agriculture ministry, said investors plan to extract CBD from hemp flowers for export and further processing into nutritional and pharmaceutical products. Exports could begin in 2018, he said.
Two companies approached the government with plans to build CBD extraction laboratories, Health Minister Jorge Basso said earlier this month.
One of the companies, International Cannabis Corp., said it plans to build a lab capable of processing 50 tons of hemp flowers a year by April. International Cannabis Corp. started growing hemp in Uruguay last year.
“The labs are going to be the locomotive that pulls the wagons of this industry,” Vazquez told Bloomberg. “Planting isn’t going to explode until the labs need a lot of flowers.”
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