Sunny Portugal: A gateway to Europe’s medical pot market – Reuters Africa

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CANTANHEDE, Portugal (Reuters) – Well-known for its roasted suckling pig and wines, the Portuguese metropolis of Cantanhede now hosts the nation’s first medical hashish manufacturing farm – a budding European hub of efforts to fulfill rising demand for the flowering herb.

Hashish vegetation develop contained in the Tilray manufacturing unit hothouse in Cantanhede, Portugal April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Portugal’s California-like climate caught the attention of Canada-based Tilray as its CEO Brendan Kennedy roved round Europe from 2015 to 2017 in the hunt for the proper spot for a brand new manufacturing website.

Kennedy mentioned Portugal had the best local weather for hashish cultivation and the nation’s younger, educated workforce and its main agricultural sector have been additional points of interest.

Protecting 2.four hectares (5.9 acres) in a biotechnology park simply exterior Cantanhede, Tilray’s website was given the inexperienced mild by Portugal’s regulator Infarmed in 2017. The corporate then rushed to import its first child vegetation and lately reported its first two profitable hashish harvests.Kennedy opened the location to guests for the primary time at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

“A few of our opponents are positioned in Denmark and northern Germany, the place there isn’t that a lot solar – so we predict we will produce a extra environmentally-friendly product right here,” he informed Reuters.

Portugal additionally gives tariff-free entry to the remainder of the European Union, a market Tilray needs to discover additional at a time when an rising variety of governments are legalising medical marijuana.

FROM PROHIBITION TO LEGALISATION

“The paradigm is shifting from prohibition to legalisation,” Kennedy mentioned, with demand for the product rising. “I’m pretty optimistic that over the following two years we are going to see each nation in Europe legalising it.”

Final 12 months Portugal’s parliament accredited a invoice to legalise marijuana-based medicines, following within the footsteps of EU international locations corresponding to Italy and Germany in addition to Canada and elements of the USA. Britain made an identical transfer in July 2018.

Tilray’s 20-million-euro (17.27 million kilos) facility contains indoor, out of doors and greenhouse cultivation websites, in addition to analysis labs, processing, packaging and distribution websites for medical hashish and cannabinoid-derived merchandise.

Tilray provides medical hashish merchandise with CBD and THC to sufferers in numerous international locations, by subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, Germany and Latin American, and thru agreements with pharmaceutical distributors.

Earlier this 12 months, the European Parliament known as for an EU-wide coverage on medical hashish and correctly funded scientific analysis.

“We’re at level the place virtually each physician world wide recognises the medical advantages of hashish,” Kennedy mentioned.

The World Well being Group has acknowledged that a number of research have demonstrated cannabinoids present therapeutic results for nausea and vomiting within the superior phases of diseases corresponding to most cancers and AIDS.

Furthermore, a handful of regulated prescribed drugs use chemical substances derived from hashish, corresponding to GW Prescription drugs’ Sativex which is accredited for treating signs of a number of sclerosis.

BOOST EXPORTS

From Canada, the place Tilray has six services, the corporate already sells medical hashish merchandise to 13 international locations. Portugal will assist Tilray increase exports additional, Kennedy mentioned.

“Our marketing strategy for this facility is targeted on exporting merchandise from Portugal to different international locations world wide.”

In Europe, Tilray merchandise are already out there in Germany, Croatia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic nevertheless it expects to start out exporting to the UK – and doubtlessly to France, Italy and Greece – within the subsequent 12 months.

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Kennedy mentioned Tilray hopes this summer time to broaden exports to international locations corresponding to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

In keeping with evaluation agency Prohibition Companions, the EU hashish market might be price 123 billion euros by 2028.

Kennedy didn’t verify how a lot medical marijuana Tilray plans to supply.

Reporting by Catarina Demony and Rafael Marchante; Modifying by Mark Heinrich

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