Italy has chosen Canadian-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB) as the sole winner of the Italian government’s public tender to supply medical cannabis in Italy. The contract is expected to be signed in September 2019.
Five companies entered the competition for the contract, but only Aurora emerged as the winner of three lots to supply the Italian market. It will be a two-year contract in which Aurora will provide 400 kg of medical marijuana from its Canadian facilities. The product will travel to Italy through Aurora’s wholly-owned subsidiary Aurora Deutschland. Then the Agenzia Industrie Difesa will distribute it to local pharmacies.
Aurora was already sending medical marijuana to the country having won a separate contract back in 2018. The other competitors were rejected for being unable to meet Italy’s strict requirements.
“We’re committed to building a successful, long-term medical cannabis market in Italy,” said Neil Belot, Aurora’s Chief Global Business Development Officer. “We want to continue to build our connection with patients and pharmacies in the Italian market, who have come to know and appreciate our products over most of the past two years. I’m extremely proud of our team. This win reflects our ability to navigate complex international regulations and work with governments around the world to establish ourselves as a trusted partner.”
According to the National Farmers Association Coldiretti and The Independent, in 2016, the “cannabis light” Law 242/16 removed the need for authorization to plant certified cannabis seeds with levels of THC below 0.2%, while the detection of THC levels between 0.2% and 0.6% during field inspections is still considered acceptable, when it can be attributed to natural causes. The law also requires farmers to keep the certification receipts for up to one year, however, the use of cannabis leaves and inflorescences for edible products is still prohibited. The potential revenue from the sale of cannabis light in Italy is estimated to be more than 40 million euros, and by 2018 hundreds of new businesses started growing cannabis in several Regions.
Axel Gille, Managing Director of Aurora Deutschland GmbH, added, “The well-being of our patients is our top priority and we’re dedicated to ensuring they have access to a consistent supply of safe, high-quality medical cannabis. We look forward to expanding our presence in Italy and continuing to work with other international regulators to ensure patients around the world have access to our high-quality medical cannabis.”