The Canadian company Canopy Growth Corporation is the world’s largest producer of marijuana, and it has announced its plans to expand into Spain with the purchase of Cafina, an Alicante-based startup that researches industrial uses of hemp and marijuana.
“Since the Middle Ages there has been an area (La Vega Baja del Segura), in the province of Alicante, whose history and economy has been linked to hemp, its commercial capital being Callosa de Segura. This ‘City of Hemp’ was the home of the world’s largest production of hemp threads, ropes, and nets, and its “School of Hemp Works” teaches the entire process, from seed-based cultivation to production. It also features “the only museum in the world dedicated to this plant,“ said Cafina.
Joaquín Parra, Eladio Aniorte and José Luis Ortiz, three retired teachers, launched a project in 2015 to explore the cultivation and development of hemp for industrial and therapeutic uses in the province of Alicante. Now, their startup has been acquired by Canopy Growth for millions, though the exact amount has not been disclosed.
Cafina is one of three companies in Spain authorized to cultivate, distribute and export cannabis containing more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for medicinal and research purposes, from its 1,600 sq. ft. greenhouse. It is also licensed to conduct hemp cultivation. With this acquisition, Canopy Growth aims to improve its long-term positioning to address demand across Europe for medical cannabis and CBD products. Canopy Growth is also partnered with a second licensed producer in Spain that produces cannabis flowers for the company under an existing supply arrangement.
Founded in 2014, Cafina is headquartered in Alicante, Spain. The Alicante company has already established a small greenhouse for the production of medical cannabis related to research, in addition to focusing on R&D related to crops and the sale of seeds of hemp.
Cafina received its research license in November 2018 from the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), and had previously received a license from hemp authorizing the cultivation of cannabis sativa (<0.2% THC). Xavier Delas Martínez has been CEO of Cafina since 2018, and will continue to manage the Spanish subsidiary.
The acquisition will allow Canopy Growth to extend its European production footprint to Spain, “one of the most ideal growing regions in the world”. The Canadian group wants to complement its 40,000 square meter field in Odense (Denmark), as well as its laboratories in Tütlingen (Germany).
“With this acquisition and planned expansion in Spain, Canopy Growth improves its long-term positioning to meet the demand in Europe for medicinal cannabis and related products,” said the company.