Tilray, which is the world’s leading provider of cannabis for medicinal purposes, announced plans to invest €20 million in a cannabis campus in Portugal to be completed by 2020. The Canada-based company will cultivate, process, and package the medicinal cannabis from the Portugal operation to supply the European market.
The EU Campus
The project will be a 270,000-square foot campus that will include outdoor, indoor, and greenhouse cultivation sites, as well as laboratories and manufacturing units, which will be built in several phases over the course of three years. The EU Campus will be situated in the BIOCANT biotechnology and life sciences research park in the city of Cantanhede, which is 220 kilometers north of Lisbon, and is expected to create 100 jobs, including highly skilled positions.
Phase one of the EU Campus project will be completed by spring of 2018, and it will include outdoor cultivation sites, a genetics bank, an indoor laboratory, a greenhouse, and a processing facility. The rest of the phases will see the completion of a greenhouse cultivation space and another processing facility.
According to Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy, the EU campus is a strategic milestone for the company as they aim to build the most trusted and the most-admired medical cannabis brand in the world. He added that for the past two years, they have been trying to find a location that is ideal for research, cultivation, and processing facilities that would serve Europe’s fast-growing demand for high-quality medical cannabis.
Tilray stated that it ultimately chose Portugal as the venue for its European Union Campus because of its climate, which is ideal for growing cannabis plants. It can be noted that Portugal, which is in southern Europe, enjoys a mild climate all year round. What’s more, the company also chose the country because it has access to Europe’s common market, to a vibrant research community, and to a pool of highly qualified and skilled biotechnology and health care workers. The company also added that it would be cost-effective and environment-friendly for them to supply their European patients from Portugal.
The cannabis products from the EU Campus will be mainly for Germany, which imports dried cannabis from Tilray Canada. Germany, where the use of medical cannabis has just been legalized this year, is also the world’s second biggest market for pharmaceuticals.
The Government of Portugal has already granted Tilray the licenses to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes and to import cannabis genetics. Tilray, according to Kennedy, is the first company to ever win a license to cultivate cannabis in Portugal.
For many years, Portugal has been known to have a forward-thinking approach to drug legislation. It can be recalled that in 2001, Portugal overhauled its drug policy in order to allow for a treatment-based system rather than one based on punitive penalties. With this, the possession and personal use of cannabis has been decriminalized and instead of offenders facing criminal penalties, they face civil penalties and are subjected to drug diversion programs.
By the end of the year, the company expects to export medical cannabis products to five more countries, in addition to the six that they are already selling to, without being specific. The company will also be forging research partnerships in Portugal and Germany, as well as in other countries, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact not just in Portugal’s local community but all throughout Europe. By the end of 2018, the company expects to already produce 60 tons of cannabis a year.
Tilray further estimates that the market will grow to 10 million patients, as well as generate as much as €40 billion per year in revenue.