This article was originally written by Hernán Panessi for El Planteo. Published here with permission.
Santa Marta, Magdalena department, Colombian Caribbean. Here, the dry tropical forest biome combines characteristics of jungle areas with those of desert areas.
To a large extent, the craze for this paradise spot is owed to its uniqueness: it is a jungle, with desert. In fact, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest elevation of land proximate to the sea in the world. These factors create a regulating effect on the climate, making this place one of the most ideal spots to grow cannabis on the planet.
And there went Lucas Nosiglia, a 35-year-old Argentine executive; a guy from the financial world, still quite unfamiliar with the cannabis industry.
He arrived in November 2017, and never left.
While pursuing his master’s degree in finance in Barcelona, he became friends with some young people who were starting a cannabis project in Canada, in the throes of medical marijuana.
The idea that lit the fuse? “Produce cannabis on a large scale and sell it,” says Lucas, president of Avicanna in Latin America and responsible for the operation in the region, where he runs things from Santa Marta – through the subsidiaries Santa Marta Golden Hemp and Sativa Nativa.
Growing cannabis for medicinal use is legal in Colombia at a federal level.
“From the get go, we gave it a biotechnology imprint, focused on the development of cannabinoids,” he explained. This opened the doors to new markets and experiences. So instead of investing in Canadian land (10 times more expensive than Colombian), they decided to invest in brains. Thus, they joined forces with Canadian institutions and reached cooperation agreements with the University of Toronto. By virtue of this situation and very favorable scenario, Avicanna Inc (TSX: AVCN) (OTC: AVCNF) arrived at J Labs, an incubator belonging to the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) multinational.
Then, everything changed, everything grew, everything became crazy.
“Entering that incubator was an important milestone,” Lucas says. Initially, their headquarters were in Mars, a mini Silicon …