On Wednesday, Health Canada approved the company’s subsidiary, United Greeneries, as an authorized licensed producer. This means the new Duncan, British Columbia-based facility located on Vancouver Island can now legally import cannabis across international borders.
Becoming a licensed producer in Canada is considered the highest strategic asset in the industry. Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) allows for a small number of licensed production facilities. Health Canada has only issued 32 licenses since 2013 — MMJ will be the 33rd approval. The stringent process requires time and a lot of capital.
The new 16,000-square-foot facility in Duncan cost MMJ around $8 million (AU$8.3 million) in production costs. The facility boasts a 10,000-square-feet of cultivation area and has the capabilities to produce up to 700 kg of medical grade cannabis each year. The company aims to reach that goal using its new production license.
“The granting of the Duncan MMPR license is a significant milestone for MMJ, as it underpins the evolution of our ‘Farm to Pharma’ strategy,” MMJ PhytoTech Limited’s Managing Director, Andreas Gedeon,” said in a press release. “As the first Australian-based company to receive a Canadian production license, we are very encouraged by Health Canada’s endorsement of our facilities.”
The license enables a vertically integrated company that can benefit from the whole spectrum of the supply chain.
“The Duncan license positions MMJ not only as a supplier to the existing Canadian MMPR patients, but also to the potential future regulated recreational market. The federal nature of the Canadian licensing system will provide a potential gateway for the exporting of our products and will establish credibility with regulators for the Group when entering new markets,” stated Gedeon.
The MMPR license is the most extensive and sophisticated medical marijuana regulatory environment available. United Greeneries underwent a series of strict inspections before the approval process had begun.
The Duncan facility will have several added upscale features such as a Level 8 Narcotics Vault and on-site analytical and biochemical laboratory.
MMJ is awaiting approval on a second facility. MMJ has also subsidized two other facilities, including Satipharm in Switzerland and the Israel-based PhytoTech Therapeutics. Satipharm produces CBD-based medical products and PhytoTech Therapeutics conducts research on cannabis.