Canadian companies, such as Aphira and Canopy Growyh, have expressed their interest in acquiring or merging with Mexican companies that add opportunities in various segments to their businesses.
Mexico opened a window to the development of the cannabis industry. After publishing a regulation for its medicinal use, which already generates interest beyond borders, the country is heading towards the creation of a whole value chain.
Canadian companies, such as Aphira and Canopy Growyh, have expressed interest in acquiring or merging with companies that add opportunities in various segments to their businesses. Clever Leaver, which produces cannabinoids for medicinal use, entered the Mexican market through a supply agreement for active pharmaceutical ingredients with CBD Life, which produces and markets Mariguanol ointment.
Experts believe that, as has happened with the development of other supply chains such as automotive or aerospace, one of the pillars that will give way to the development of the industry will come from foreign companies that will bring the technologies and research they have developed from the legalization of the pharmaceutical use of cannabis, through alliances or mergers with the Mexican firms that will adopt these guidelines.
Research on the medicinal properties of the plant will be one of the areas with the greatest opportunity for development. Lorena Beltrán, general director of CannabiSalud, a firm specialized in organizing forums and promotional and informational events on cannabis, comments that Mexico can be a leader in science given the strength of the pharmaceutical industry, which can explore the properties and even discover some compounds of cannabis, which has not been fully studied.
“There is an opportunity for Mexico to be a leader in science, in the development of cannabis-based medicines, in the fabrication, and in creating new products,” he declares. “There is also an opportunity to transfer the research that has been done in other countries and bring it to Mexico, conclude here and mix medicinal products here,” he says.
The development opportunity for medicinal cannabis in Mexico is latent since the market will be worth 3.5 million dollars and will reach 54.5 million dollars in 2024, according to projections from the Statista consultancy.
“These laboratories are years ahead of us and the associations are going to have technology transfer to the Mexican territory and it will be noticed through patents or industrial transactions that will allow competitive advantages in the market. When Mexico is a developer, we will be the spearhead and then there will be an opportunity to export products that have been technically developed in Mexico, such as special pesticides ”, says Carlos Solórzano.
The current law already allows the cultivation of the plant for the research and development of medicines, which paves the way for those who cultivate the plant to establish a purchase-sale relationship with pharmaceutical companies that have permits for the manufacture of medicines based on cannabis.
Those who wish to sell the plant as part of the production chain have to verify with the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) the purposes of medicinal use of the production of the plant. Although this opportunity, Beltrán believes, is not for everyone.
“The market is very complex and requires very large investments and having a relationship with the pharmaceutical industry is not easy, growers have to be involved with professionals and scientists, for this type of permit to be approved,” he declares.
What about industrial use?
The medicinal development of cannabis is not unique. The regulation, which is expected to be approved in the next session that begins in September, considers the use of hemp, an input from which biofuels, cosmetics, and food supplements can be developed. However, this industry would have to overcome some bumps since in the legislation that is awaiting approval there is no differentiation between hemp and marijuana.
And although they look the same to the eye, they are not. Hemp, which is the fiber of the plant, contains less than 1% THC, which is the psychoactive component of the plant, which means that it does not cause any effect on the nervous system. Marijuana does contain high levels of THC and it also has some medicinal properties that are already used in medications to treat diseases such as epilepsy.
“It has not been very clear where the industrial hemp is in the legislation. However, it is not prohibited either. So they left it very up in the air. As it is not psychoactive, it does not represent harm to health, therefore, it should be a freer cannabis plant, without so many restrictions because it has many uses. We are really missing out on a lot and a very big industry opportunity for our country ”, details Beltrán.
Some hemp products, such as supplements or shampoos, are already on the market and have the authorization of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris). Meanwhile, some brands are waiting for the registration process before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI). Among the brands that are in the approval process are capsules for pets, energy drinks, and cosmetics.
Paco OG, a micro-entrepreneur who connects cannabis entrepreneurs with investors, sees potential for development in the textile industry, but especially in biofuels. This company believes that by separately regulating the use of hemp there is an opportunity to open a market with a value of 18,000 million dollars during its first year of operation.
“When the market is legal we are going to see entire regions that are going to change their way of life and their economy by planting industrial hemp because this also has a social aspect. We see potential and interest to make biofuels and the plantations may be close to refineries and thermoelectric plants ”, he refers.