Nov 8, 2018

Canopy Growth to spend US$115M to grow marijuana in EU

Bruce Linton

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Canopy Growth Corp., one of the world’s biggest medical cannabis companies, is planning a major investment in Europe.

The marijuana grower will spend more than 100 million euros (US$115 million) to expand production in the EU over the next two years, according to Pierre Debs, managing director at Canopy’s Spectrum Cannabis Europe division. The weed giant -- valued at about US$9.8 billion -- is planning to build two new production facilities to grow hundreds of kilos of cannabis for use in treatment.

Germany and the EU overall “are the most exciting federally regulated medical cannabis market outside of Canada,” Debs said in a phone interview. “Things are going to grow not too differently than what happened in Canada. We’re going to need significant production facilities.”

Canadian cannabis growers are itching to expand beyond their home country, where the laws are welcoming -- recreational marijuana was legalized Oct. 17 -- but the population is small. Countries including the U.K. are starting to relax legal restrictions, and some industry executives have projected that the European market could be worth billions of dollars in the coming years.

Canopy (WEED.TO) will build its new growing facilities in Italy, Greece or Spain, Debs said, all in a region that offers much-needed sunshine for the cannabis plants. The company already has a partnership with Madrid-based Alcaliber SA, granting the medicinal plant firm permission to use Canopy’s strains and seeds for marijuana growth. The Canadian company may start up an additional processing facility in Germany to make extracts and gel capsules.

By 2020, the new infrastructure will allow Canopy to produce tons of cannabis every quarter, and expansion beyond that is “unlimited” because of the availability of land, Debs said. The company is nearly finished with a greenhouse in Denmark that will produce as much as 200 kilos a week by the end of next year, and one of the planned facilities will be even larger, he said.