The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Medicinal marijuana cultivation, distribution facility gets ME approval

Sunday, 29 July 2018, 09:30 Last update: about 5 months ago

Malta Enterprise has issued a Letter of Intent for the construction of a hybrid cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution facility for medical marijuana.

The company, Aurora Cannabis, has teamed up with Maltese pharmaceutical wholesaler Cherubino for the establishment of a ‘seed-to-pharma’ cannabis operation, subject to certain conditions.

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The Canadian company says this will be Malta’s first cannabis cultivation facility and that it will serve both the Maltese and EU export markets.

The operations will be carried out by a new subsidiary, Aurora Malta, to be formed with Aurora’s Maltese partner Cherubino Ltd.

Aurora says it will be the majority shareholder in the new venture, which it describes as a “true seed-to-pharma operation, including the processing of cannabis into oils and other derivative products.”

The company says it will be allocated land for the development of the facility by Malta Industrial Parks Ltd and that the facility is being designed by Aurora Larssen Projects Ltd and built using additional Maltese expertise.

Both the cultivation and the processing operations will be completed to EU Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Aurora says that, through the German company Pedanios, it has worked closely with Cherubino Ltd to develop a concept for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis that fulfils all necessary requirements in accordance with the Maltese Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purpose Act (2018).

The final size and design of the facility, the company says, will be announced shortly.

It adds that in addition to serving the domestic market, “Malta is strategically located to serve export markets throughout Europe.”

“Aurora already was the first company to export medical cannabis to both Italy and Malta [in fact, its dried cannabis bud products, and accompanying vaporising devices, are already available at some pharmacies in Malta] and now are the first to receive approval for the production, processing, and distribution of cannabis in the country,” said Neil Belot, Chief Global Business Development Officer.

“Having an EU GMP compliant facility in Malta will position us well to serve multiple international markets, including southern Europe and beyond. We are delighted to have Cherubino as our local partner. Their professionalism, reputation and standing in Malta were instrumental in establishing a local presence. We look forward to creating a thriving Maltese business, generating significant employment opportunities and serving medical patients with high-quality cannabis products.”

As for the availability in Malta of medical marijuana for purchase against a doctor’s prescription, the Health Ministry insists that there has been no change of policy.

A spokesperson told this newspaper this week, “This is a medical cannabis product which consists of the dried flower of the cannabis plant and which has been approved for importation by a licensed pharmaceutical wholesale dealer in line with the current legislation and established standard operating procedure.

“There has been no change in policy.”

Aurora is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. It says it is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain - from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetic research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-added product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.

Aurora has also established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customisation, resulting in the large-scale production of high-quality product at ultra-low costs. Intended to be replicable and scalable globally, these production facilities are designed to produce cannabis of significant scale, with high-quality, industry-leading yields, and ultra-low per-gram production costs.

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