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Another Canadian Company Sets Up Portuguese Growing Operation

Written by Peter McCusker

Portugal’s California-like weather has seen a third Canadian company look to establish a cannabis cultivation footprint in the country.

First it was Tilray, then it was Aurora and now The Flowr Corporation is set to grow cannabis in the country. Flowr has announced plans to acquire the remaining 80% stake in Portuguese firm Holigen which has established a huge cannabis operation in Aljustrel, about 100 miles south east of the capital Lisbon.

The 72-hectare site could become one of the largest cannabis facilities in the world. Located in the Alentejo region it will initially produce about 500,000 kilograms of cannabis per year – and could rise to more than 630,000 kilograms.

Cannabis Clones For Export

Flowr also announced that it has received a Health Canada export permit that will allow it to make an initial shipment of clones from its Kelowna Campus to Portugal.  It says the permits will allow the Aljustrel operation to garner its first outdoor harvest later this year. Its CEO Vinay Tolia said the deal is a major milestone and a ‘cornerstone in its efforts to service the global medical cannabis market’.  

“Aljustrel is one of the largest outdoor THC cultivation licenses in the developed world, and will be instrumental in providing large-scale, low-cost cannabis extract for pharmaceutical APIs, as well as oils to service the European medical markets.” 

Ideal Climatic Cannabis Conditions

Flowr, which is based in Toronto, builds and operates large-scale, GMP-designed cultivation facilities and recently announced plans to raise up to C$125 million to finalize the Holigen purchase. One of Portugal’s major attractions for such foreign companies is that it has ideal climatic and cultivation conditions.

It represents an attractive market, with relatively low labor costs and and a recent change in the law allows for the distribution of medical cannabis to other EU nations, where it is legal. Edmonton-based Aurora has signed an agreement to acquire a 51% ownership stake in Gaia Pharma, a Portuguese-based company with plans to produce medical cannabis and derivative products.

Aurora said construction of the first phase of the Gaia facility, capable of producing up to 2,000 kilograms of cannabis a year, was expected to be completed in late 2020.

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.