“Brazil remains severely limited and what is currently allowed in the country is medical only,” Nate Erskine, analyst at CBD-Intel, told FoodNavigator-LATAM.
Domestic production is “almost non-existent” - although this may be changing.
In November 2017, the Brazilian Association of Cannabis Hope Support (Abrace Esperança) got legal authorization to produce CBD oil for medical purposes. Although Abrace Esperança is a small farm in north-east Brazil with only around 20 employees, it is the first Brazilian entity licensed to produce and sell CBD.
“[This] could be seen as a significant step,” said Marija Obradovic, international senior legal analyst at CBD-Intel.
However, Obradovic echoed Erskine's cautionary comments. “The market in Brazil remains severely limited, with CBD treated the same as medical cannabis, and little prospect for liberalization seen under the current government. Currently there are only around 4,600 consumers legally allowed to import and use CBD.”
Despite the restrictions, CBD-Intel has tracked at least 20 subsidiaries of major cannabis companies that have some form of operation in the country, which it sees as evidence of “some level of optimism” amongst the international sector.
US company Knox Medical has made it known it wants to invest US$20m in a factory in Brazil for CBD products for export.
“There is currently a bill to regulate medical cannabis further in the country – though, as mentioned, the prospects of further liberalization of the market are questionable at this time,” added Obradovic.