Argentina targets $500 million in cannabis sales and 10000 jobs for its export market
Dozens of projects related to cannabis research and development are being overseen by Argentina's new marijuana watchdog, which is looking to tap into the potentially lucrative weed export market.
The Argentine government hopes to reach $500m (£422m) in domestic cannabis sales and $50m in exports by 2025.
Recreational use is still banned, but people can grow their own plants for medicinal purposes and authorities now want to allow more private companies to produce the plant.
"The industry has incredible potential," said declared Gabriel Gimenez, director of the newly created cannabis watchdog.
He said 51 regulated research and development projects were currently underway in the country and the National Seed Institute had given the green light to 13 types of traceable seeds.
Argentina hopes to generate foreign currency through exports and create 10 new jobs.
The country currently allows cannabis-derived products in pharmacies and has ordered insurers to cover prescriptions for marijuana-based drugs.
Pampa Hemp was the first private company authorized by the Argentine Ministry of Health.
She began cultivating pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in 2021 at an experimental station in the province of Buenos Aires.
Pablo Fazio, president of the Argentine Cannabis Chamber (ARGENCANN) and co-founder of Pampa Hemp, said the demand could give rise to a new national industry of products made from the raw material.
"It's a revolution in itself," he said.
The Medical Cannabis Research and Development Center (CIDCam) in the province of Santa Fe has over 200 cannabis plants of different varieties and a second harvest is expected this month.
It aims to help producers experiment with different types of drugs.
Uruguay, a neighboring country to Argentina, legalized the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis in 2013, becoming the first modern country to do so, while Paraguay is also seeking to legalize cultivation for medical purposes. .
Latin American countries have gradually relaxed restrictions on the cultivation, distribution and consumption of cannabis.
In the UK, cannabis was legalized five years ago for certain medical conditions such as severe forms of epilepsy.
However, new research suggests that there has been an increase in the number of people using it illegally to try and treat their health conditions.