In time, growers estimate that the Andean nation could capture as much as one-fifth of a global market that could be worth $40 billion a year - a significant economic boost as Colombia seeks to diminish its reliance on dwindling oil reserves.

Tired of living in fear of arrest or running afoul of drug traffickers, Romairo Aguirre is ready to destroy his illegal plantation of 1,500 marijuana bushes in the mountainous Cauca region of southwest Colombia and become legitimate.

Like many of the farmers who grow cannabis near the town of Corinto, Aguirre hopes President Juan Manuel Santos’ plan to turn Colombia into a major producer of medical marijuana means he can find work from one of a dozen companies launching in the South American nation.

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Helen Murphy and Nelson Bocanegra ~ Reuters via 420Intel.com ~

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