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After Coca And Coffee, Legal Cannabis Can Take Colombia Higher

Local investors and entrepreneurs should learn from past mistakes to harvest the best results from the country's decision to authorize marijuana production.

A medical cannabis farm in Bogotá
A medical cannabis farm in Bogotá
Liliana Hernández


BOGOTÁ — The era of legal cannabis cultivation has begun in Colombia, but there's nothing new about the production model.

Like with sugar cane, coffee or flowers, big, private investors are putting money into producing the raw material — without much processing — so that it can then be exported to countries that have been doing research on the product for decades.

In the case of cannabis, Colombian producers simply cultivate the plant, harvest its flowers and elaborate base extracts with them. It's only after they're shipped abroad that the extracts are transformed into lucrative, value-added products that we Colombians will then have to import at prohibitively high costs.

There's much talk here about the "new opportunities' legal cannabis will provide. But what kind of opportunity are we really talking about? The opportunity to keep using a cheap workforce, both qualified and untrained? Does that really live up to the developmental promise touted in all this opportunity talk?


Colombia may benefit from higher aspiration in the cannabis business — Photo: Matteo Paganelli

The arguments used to boost the incipient cannabis business today are the same used for sugar cane in its day: namely that Colombia has no seasons, that producers can grow all year.

Seriously, is this the best defense that can be made of a productive project? May we never aspire to anything better than producing cheap raw material so that, as always, private capital in foreign countries can flourish and multiply in the best colonial style? Have we learned nothing from the lessons of the early 20th century with quinine, rubber, cocoa and, more recently, other farming products whose final days are now paving the way for a cannabis business?

Will this be our highest aspiration? Perpetuating poverty and backwardness because the people who make the important decisions in this country think we cannot do any better? And is that actually true? Or is it just what others have always wanted us to believe?

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Murdoch's Resignation Adds To Biden Good Luck With The Media — A Repeat Of FDR?

Robert Murdoch's resignation from Fox News Corp. so soon before the next U.S. presidential elections begs the question of how directly media coverage has impacted Joe Biden as a figure, and what this new shift in power will mean for the current President.

Close up photograph of a opy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run

July 7, 2011 - London, England: A copy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run July 11, 2011 amid a torrid scandal involving phone hacking.

Mark Makela/ZUMA
Michael J. Socolow

Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America on Jan. 20, 2021.

Imagine if someone could go back in time and inform him and his communications team that a few pivotal changes in the media would occur during his first three years in office.

There’s the latest news that Rubert Murdoch, 92, stepped down as the chairperson of Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Sept. 21, 2023. Since the 1980s, Murdoch, who will be replaced by his son Lachlan, has been the most powerful right-wing media executivein the U.S.

While it’s not clear whether Fox will be any tamer under Lachlan, Murdoch’s departure is likely good news for Biden, who reportedly despises the media baron.

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