April 17, 2019 / 2:53 PM / 2 days ago

Germany to launch cannabis farming as Canada's Aurora, Aphria win tenders

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany has awarded contracts to supply domestically-grown cannabis to two Canadian companies, as it seeks to develop its own medicinal marijuana industry and reduce reliance on imports.

Drugs regulator BfArM said on Wednesday it would purchase 4,000 kg and 3,200 kg of cannabis over four years from German production subsidiaries of Canada’s Aurora Cannabis and Aphria, respectively.

Another tender over a four-year harvest of 3200 kg has been delayed because an unidentified bidder who lost out is challenging the procedure with a regulator.

The first home-grown harvest is slated for late 2020, the German drugs watchdog said in its statement, describing the tender as an “important step for the supply of medical-grade cannabis grown in Germany to critically ill patients”.

Aurora shares rose on April 5, when the company announced it was one of the winners in the German production tender, citing preliminary results.

Germany has depended on imports of medical cannabis, mainly from Canada and the Netherlands. No new hurdles on imports will be introduced with the launch of cannabis farming in Germany.

A growing number of countries have legalized or are in the process of legalizing marijuana for medical use, including Britain, Greece, Thailand as well as some U.S. states.

Medicinal marijuana prescriptions have been available in Germany since 2017, but all supplies are imported.

Canada and Uruguay have liberalized the marijuana industry completely.

Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Peter Graff

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