Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), used to run the marijuana business in the country. They made billions off of the business, The New York Times reports. Now, after a peace deal 52 years in the making transferred land formerly run by FARC to the Colombian government, there’s a new billion dollar boss — and they’re looking for workers.
In the next couple weeks, the Colombian government will start processing licenses for companies to cultivate medical marijuana. This comes after America $10 billion dollars in the country as part of the War on Drugs. A Canadian company called PharmaCielo is trying to be one of the first government-approved marijuana companies.
While marijuana is big business for the key people involved, it’s the only way of life that many working class families know in Colombia. In the past, the government tried to get citizens to grow other crops rather than break the law by growing cannabis, but other agriculture wasn’t profitable enough. With medical marijuana, people can legally grow weed and provide for their families.
There’s one more ironic twist. The corporations looking for licenses are the very type of multinational corporations that FARC was trying to keep out of the country. PharmaCielo, the most prominent of the companies, has directors that previously worked with Philip Morris and Bayer. Under PharmaCielo, farmers will be paid much more than they were under FARC, a leader of the company told The New York Times.
Large fields of legal medical marijuana are a far cry from the days of FARC, foreign involvement from the American War on Drugs, and infamous smugglers like the Medellín Cartel. It’s a more corporate, more international outlook. Hopefully it will also be more peaceful.