Canadian company Tilray opened its European production site in Cantanhede, in the centre of Portugal, on Wednesday. Tilray has stated it wants to be one of the world leaders in the medicinal cannabis market.
The new site cost more than 20 million euros and created more than a hundred jobs, but this figure is expected to double before the end of the year. The first outdoor crop at the 76,000 m2 site was harvested last year. A second crop was produced in greenhouses in February 2019.
“We hope to begin exporting to the European Union from Portugal this summer, as well as to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand”, Tilray boss Brendan Kennedy said when opening the site. The company already sells its products in 13 countries, including Germany, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
To achieve its goal of becoming the “first global legal cannabis company”, Tilray wants to extend its market into countries like “Ireland and the United Kingdom, and potentially France, Italy and Greece”, Mr Kennedy said.
Tilray and AB InBev have recently signed a research partnership on non-alcoholic cannabis drinks, a promising market for international alcohol giants.
A study by the Grand View Research cabinet published in 2017 said the global medicinal cannabis market could be worth as much as 55.8 billion dollars (49 billion euros) by 2025: that’s nearly five times more than 2015.
But Mr Kennedy warned it was “impossible” to precisely estimate how big the market will get. “We know that doctors and patients are replacing traditional medication with medicinal cannabis products, but we don’t know how widespread that replacement will be”, he stated.
“We are in the middle of a worldwide paradigm shift”, Mr Kennedy said. He claimed that “medicinal cannabis is a classic medication taken by classic patients”.
21 European Union countries have now legalised cannabis for medicinal use.
Medicinal cannabis can help patients whose pain doesn’t dissipate with traditional painkillers, such as Multiple Sclerosis (muscular contraction reflex) or cluster headaches. It can also help those who have trouble sleeping or nausea due to chemotherapy treatment.