The Italian Ministry of Defense (MOD) is inviting bids from medical cannabis producers until July 3, 2019. Apparently, Italy needs 400 kilograms of medical marijuana to be delivered over the next couple of years.
The MOD is currently the only one with the license to grow cannabis plants domestically. The ministry also controls the country’s medical cannabis production. However, it seems that they are having difficulty keeping up with the growing demand for medical marijuana.
As such, the Italian government has announced a medical cannabis tender, and firms who wish to supply the country’s burgeoning pot market have only two weeks to respond.
The successful applicant will not only help address the growing demand for medical pot, but they will also help Italy diversify away from Bedrocan. Bedrocan, Europe’s largest medical cannabis producer, supplied around two-thirds or 450kg of Italy’s cannabis requirement in 2018.
More specifically, the successful applicant will supply Italy with dried cannabis flower, milled or whole, in three lots: 320 kilograms with high THC content, 40 kilograms with high CBD content, and 40 kilograms of THC/CBD split product.
Successful firms will have two years from September 2019 to deliver the medical cannabis products. The MOD wants the supply delivered in four months’ interval.
The target price on the contract is at €3 or €4 per gram, depending on the cannabis strain. However, in line with the 2017 tender, where Aurora/Pedanios was awarded the contract, bids are expected to come in under this threshold.
The tender was announced on June 18, and firms have only a week to request the MOD for more information about the matter.
As can be expected, the small window available for applications has rattled interested bidders. In fact, according to one industry expert, the very short deadline is causing discontent in the medical marijuana market.
The market is hoping for an extension in order to increase competitive pressure.
Medical cannabis in Italy
Italy legalized medical cannabis in January 2013. To be allowed to use medical cannabis, a patient should have certain medical conditions and should obtain a doctor’s prescription. At the time, however, the drug had to be imported primarily from the Netherlands and the cost was not covered by the state. This made medical cannabis too expensive for average patients.
Because of this, the MOD announced that the army would grow cannabis plants in a secure chemical-pharmaceutical military facility in Florence. The army production increased through the years and this resulted in a 30-percent decrease in the cost.
Needless to say, Italy is one of the largest markets for medical marijuana in Europe and, with a population of 60 million, the country holds a huge potential for businesses that are looking to expand. In recent years, its medical cannabis system has struggled to meet patient demand.
Italy has over 20,000 patients reported in 2018.