South American Countries Diving into Hemp Cosmetics

Lisa Rennie
Written by Lisa Rennie

The US may have recently lifted hemp from the list of the Controlled Substance Act thanks to the recently-passed Farm Bill at the end of 2018, but South American nations aren’t exactly being left in the dust when it comes to hemp cultivation and the development of hemp-based products, including cosmetics.

As of this writing, hemp is legal in several Latin American countries, including Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Jamaica. According to data gathered by BDS Analytics and Arcview Research, Latin America ranks second in the world in terms of cannabis market “readiness.” In fact, the Latin American legal cannabis market is expected to grow to a whopping $776 million by 2026.

Among all the hemp-based products that are developed all over the globe, cosmetics and personal care products comprise about half of the global market. And with Latin America’s strong position in the world of hemp cultivation and hemp-based consumer goods production, much of the hemp-derived cosmetics products are increasingly stemming from Latin American hemp.


After being the first country in the world to legalize marijuana, Uruguay, for instance, is known as a pioneer in the world of legalized recreational cannabis and has a solid support system for its hemp industry. Of course, its climate is ideal for vast outdoor hemp farms, allowing for widespread development of hemp-based derivatives, including cosmetics and topicals.

Hemp and cannabis have been legal in Uruguay or six years, with as much as 1% THC permitted in its hemp production. According to Uruguay’s Ministry of Agriculture, several companies received authorization to plant approximately 1,200 hectares of hemp in 2017 in addition to the approximately 400 hectares of hemp that were planted the year before.


Colombia is also making its mark in the world of hemp and hemp-derived products like cosmetics and topicals. In fact, growing hemp in this Latin American nation is nothing new, as this practice has been legal in the country since 1986. While the majority of the hemp market in Colombia is involved in industrial applications, it’s also increasingly dedicated to hemp-derived consumer goods, including cosmetics.

Since Colombian law doesn’t distinguish between marijuana and hemp, regulations are based on the amount of THC in the plant; namely, whether the level is 1% or less. Standard hemp cultivation in Colombia is a lot more strictly regulated compared to North America, which also restricts the consumer market. As such, the majority of Colombia’s hemp-derived CBD market is limited to cosmetics and topicals.


Mexico comes in second in terms of Latin American market size for industrial hemp products, comprising of 15% of the share. The cultivation, development, and use of medical marijuana products with no more than 1% THC was officially legalized in June 2017 by President Enrique Peña Nieto.


Chile has the strongest support for cannabis legalization in Latin America and also has the highest marijuana consumption rates per capita in the region. Law 20,000 came into effect in 2005 which decriminalized growing cannabis at home for any use. In terms of hemp, Chile is expected to be the biggest hemp market in Latin America and may account for as much as 39% of the Latin America’s industrial hemp market.


Image Credit: Biotech Stock News

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Lisa Rennie

Lisa Rennie

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