For years, Blanca Riveros has had the same routine: After fixing breakfast and taking her son to school, she heads home to a large plastic trash bag filled with marijuana.
She trims the plants and gets them ready for Colombian drug traffickers. After school, her son helps cut more.
The business was long overseen by the country’s largest rebel group, which dominated this region, taxed its drugs and became internationally notorious for trafficking in billions of dollars in illicit substances. But when the government signed a peace deal with the fighters last year, the state swept in and reclaimed this remote mountain village, threatening to end the trade.
“How am I supposed to feed my family?” Ms. Riveros asked.
She now has an unlikely option: growing marijuana with the government’s blessing instead.
A Canadian company called PharmaCielo, with the government’s approval, is working to produce the drug legally in Colombia and is looking to hire.
Colombia has received billions of dollars in American aid to eradicate the drug trade. But in the coming weeks, the government says, it will begin processing licenses for a small number of companies, including PharmaCielo, under a 2015 law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana.