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Medara’s Jorge Giribone Offers Insight on Latin America’s Cannabis Industry | AZUCA Updates | Legalization News
In Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize both medical and adult-use cannabis, new doors are continually being opened and opportunities for growth have never been more abundant. However, while opportunities are plentiful, problems with exporting products and obtaining full grade certification can create issues that limit efforts and bottleneck production. In this month’s newsletter, we sit down with Jorge Giribone, president of Medara SA, to learn how he is hoping to solve these problems and more through a distribution partnership with Azuca. From New Jersey to New Mexico, we also provide a snapshot of events the Azuca team has participated in and highlight recent key legalization updates.
6 Questions with Jorge Giribone, President of Medara SA
What are the biggest challenges of working in a newly developing industry in Latin America? What about the biggest advantages?
Latin America has a population of over 600 million people (even larger than the US) and the advantage of working in Latin America, much like around the world, is that consumers want to feel better and increase their quality of life, leading them to use cannabis products. The disadvantage is that we have many countries with different regulatory frameworks and it’s challenging to unify everything. We’re doing our best but we’re all looking to the US and other countries for guidance.
The 2018 Hemp Bill did help us out a lot because we can work with CBD products that contain low THC contents in accordance with the bill, and every country within Latin America is able to abide by the bill. We’re starting, step-by-step, to build a unified regulatory framework for cannabinoids in Latin America.
You’ve recently started trials with Azuca’s TiME INFUSION at internationally known restaurants and bars, including El Popu in Uruguay. How is social consumption viewed in countries in South America?
People are beginning to look at cannabis consumption as something fashionable. They like the idea of going to a restaurant and being offered CBD infused food and recipes prepared by professional chefs. We are more flexible in regard to the use of cannabinoids in Uruguay. It’s not like the US where you have to go to a state where cannabis consumption is allowed, whether recreational or medical. We’re looking at consumption of CBD both as a nutritional supplement and something that goes with elevated meals or drinks at restaurants and other fancy places.
If you were given the opportunity to invite two people, past or present, to your next trial or event, who would they be and why?
First, Anthony Bourdain because he was a guy totally uncompromising and wanted to experiment with everything. Second, I would like to have Ron Silver because I want to see him in action, working to create his fast-acting cannabis formulations.
Legalization opens the door to innovation when it comes to cannabis products and countries such as Uruguay that have had adult-use cannabis in place since 2013. How do you think the industry will continue to evolve?
We foresee the surge of minor cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and CBC. We’re also expecting to see the use of terpenes together with cannabinoids in order to utilize a desired effect. Finally, THC, although frowned upon today by authorities, is here to stay. We think it will not only help patients in oncology, but we foresee a future where it can replace a glass of wine – everyone will realize that alcohol is toxic but THC is not.
What can the U.S. learn from Uruguay, including mistakes or successes, as we look to legalize here in the states?
Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize both medical and recreational use because we had a government that was very open to solutions to the problem of narco dealers and narco cartels. The national policy has been very positive overall, and the government has provided assistance to companies, including loans and tax exemptions, to help create a thriving industry. This is something the U.S. could benefit from as well. However, government officials in Uruguay still don’t realize they can go one step further, and that the use of CBD as a nutritional supplement will open the doors for the whole industry to manufacture and export out of the country,generating money that is well needed here. While the government has opened the door, there are still many steps needed to ensure a truly successful industry.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to entrepreneurs looking to break into a new market such as South America?
Being an entrepreneur is not easy – around 80% of the businesses you start in your commercial life will fail – so it requires a lot of stamina to begin any business, anywhere in the world. In the case of the cannabis industry, we get calls from a lot of producers who want to sell their dry flowers and extracts, but the issue is they don’t have the certifications to export their products. GMP Certified ingredients like the ones that Azuca are making are what the industry (veterinarian, pharma, cosmetics, edibles, beverages) need and the way of the future, and I would advise any entrepreneur to keep that in mind while manufacturing Cannabinoids infused finished products, especially in Latin America, if he or she wants access to the global market.
Jorge Giribone, MD Biology (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), President of Medara SA, a company founded in 2013 in Uruguay, the first country to legalize both recreational and medical use of Cannabis. Currently Medara SA provides certified Cannabis and Terpenes infused ingredients for the pharma, veterinary, cosmetics and beverages & food industries in LATAM. On October 1st, 2022, AZUCA entered the Latin American market through a distribution agreement with Medara SA. With this agreement, AZUCA and Medara hope through their strategic alliance to provide the industry the most advanced CBD-containing ingredients with accurate dosing and full-grade certifications.
Azuca at MJUnpacked
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at MJ Unpacked in #LasVegas to speak with our team — we had a blast sharing the latest innovations from Azuca with members of the cannabis community!
Azuca at New Jersey Cannabis Expo
We had a great time in the Garden State attending CannaOne’s New Jersey Cannabis Expo! New Jersey is a burgeoning market that we’re looking forward to getting ingrained in very soon!
Azuca at Lucky Leaf Albuquerque
At Lucky Leaf Albuquerque last week, Azuca’s Kim Sanchez Rael and Ron Silver discussed the future of edibles and branding at scale. Additionally, Ron offered Zoom cooking demos both days, they were a huge hit!
MJBizCon in Las Vegas, November 15-18
Join us next month as we visit Las Vegas for MJBizCon, November 15-18! Stop by our booth (#8718) and see CEO and Co-Founder, Kim Sanchez Rael as she presents “Water and Oil Don’t Mix: The Latest in Cannabis Food and Beverage Innovation” on November 17th at 11 AM. Viva Las Vegas!
National – Republican voters are on board with a number of marijuana reform proposals—from medical cannabis legalization to expungements for prior marijuana convictions to letting states set their own policies without federal interference—according to a new poll. And the findings are especially timely, as congressional lawmakers work to develop passable cannabis legislation with what’s left of the current congressional calendar.
Missouri – A lawsuit filed last month sought to keep the Legal Missouri 2022 reform proposal off the ballot after it was certified by the secretary of state. But after two lower courts dismissed the challenge, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered the final word that the legal battle is over and will appear on November’s ballot.
New Jersey – New Jersey marijuana regulators have approved new guidance for employers that makes clear they cannot penalize workers based solely on positive drug tests for cannabis metabolites.
National – A majority of American voters support allowing banks to work with state-legal marijuana businesses, according to a new poll. And most people believe it will both improve public safety and promote social equity.