COLOMBIA - Economy
General Manager, Buriticá Abogados (BA)
Raúl Buriticá is lawyer from the Pontifical Javeriana University. He is also a specialist on industrial property copyright and new technologies from Externado University. He has a pharmaceutical marketing diploma from Sergio Arboleda University and an LLM in international trade law from the University Institute of European Studies in Torino. He has been advising companies in the health sector, especially national and international pharmaceutical laboratories and cannabis companies, among others. He currently serves as an advisor to one of the world’s leading companies in biological medicines, as well as in mass consumption companies. He is a member of INTA and sits on the board of directors of the Colombo-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
As the cannabis sector expands, the need for legislative and regulatory support grows, with BA happy to step in and help.
How does BA support clients in their business operations, and what are the advantages of the firm’s focus on jurisdictional protection and legal advisory?
The support to our clients is comprehensive and multidisciplinary and extends beyond legal advice. Within our team we have pharmaceutical chemists, veterinarians, agronomists, and personnel specialized in logistics issues. We support our clients in day-to-day issues, but also assist them in compliance with norms, the implementation of legal-regulatory strategies, and in the entire regulatory process not only in Colombia, but wherever our clients require advisory. We differentiate ourselves in that while our approach is legal, the regulatory technical team is robust, and able to assist the client in logistical issues, requests for quotas, seeds, and import or export licenses. Whatever the need we roll up our sleeves for our clients.
Through which methods and tools does BA ensure its service is simplified, timely and of high quality?
We understand the client’s business, and think like company lawyers. We visualize the business, understand the needs, visit the facilities, and meet with the team. In this way our work has clear objectives, and our advice is of high quality and applicable to the client’s objectives, always subject to legal terms and deadlines. Especially in terms of regulatory issues we prefer to think outside the box to provide legal and practical solutions to problems or situations that often have not arisen in the cannabis industry given its nascent state and complex and highly regulated environment.
How is BA’s specialty a good fit for companies in the cannabis space, and what are the main legal challenges and considerations for industry participants?
We are excellent allies for cannabis companies because our team is multidisciplinary. With the support of our agronomists, pharmaceutical chemists, and veterinarians, we can cover products with cannabis components for both animal and human health. Currently, it is still a headache for clients to secure financing and open bank accounts. Aldo the response times from government entities regarding procedures and requests made is a challenge. For companies that aim to export cannabis derivatives in the short or medium term, logistical issues, quotas and export licenses are complex and require patience.
What type of partnerships are most common in BA’s legal practice, and why is it key to establish long term relationships with businesses when dealing with employee relations?
Our relationship with our clients is always based on trust, professionalism, and the achievement of common goals. For us it is very important to know our client’s business, help them strengthen their weaknesses and enhance their strengths. Especially by helping them to identify their business niche, which is essential since specialization within the industry is becoming increasingly important.
What is the firm’s approach to technology and what makes this characteristic important when working in tech-savvy industries such as the cannabis industry?
We have a CRM system in the cloud, which allows us immediate control of processes, including their traceability and immediate response. Among our clients are software companies specialized in ERP solutions for cannabis companies ranging from cultivation to sales.
Where do you identify growth opportunities and what do updates to the regulatory framework such as Decree 811 mean for the firm’s growth?
The great opportunity with Decree 811 is the possibility of exporting dried flower for medicinal use. And with this authorization we are participating in the largest market for cannabis worldwide. The greatest challenge for exporters will be to adapt the cultivation models for the export of quality dried flower, complying with quality parameters of the destination country, for example, flower size, THC concentration, elimination of heavy metals, and so forth. Likewise, for the use of industrial cannabis, procedures and cultivation will have to be adapted. This is not the case for pharmaceutical-grade cultivation that requires high international standards compared to, say, the plastics industry; the genetics, cultivation size and procedures are different. It is very important to mention that thanks to Decree 811, it is now possible to export cannabis from a free trade zone.
What are Buriticá’s business development objectives?
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we have to be flexible, adjust to new realities and, regardless of medium or long-term plans, we must have the ability to adapt. BA’s short and medium-term goal is to continue helping companies to export, seek alliances with other international companies (law firms, logistics companies, buyers, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and wellness laboratories), and consolidate and expand our network of international partners.
COLOMBIA - Green Economy
President, Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI)
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