Tilray, a Canadian cannabis producer owned by Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, is expanding its marijuana production footprint to the European Union. Tilray, which raised €20 million for the expansion, is building a growing and production facility in Portugal. Tilray says its Portuguese facility will be up and running later this year.

Tilray, which was one of the first companies to be federally licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana in Canada in 2014, said in a statement that it will break ground on what it's calling its "European Union campus" by spring of 2018.

Tilray's Portugal facility, since it is in the EU, will be able to legally distribute medical marijuana to medical cannabis programs, including Germany, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Netherlands, and Finland, the company said. 

The facility, which will be located in a research park Cantanhede, Portugal, a town two and a half hours north of Lisbon, will cultivate, process, package, and distribute medical cannabis and THC products to medical marijuana patients, pharmacies, and researchers throughout the European market. (Portugal decriminalized use of all drugs in 2001.)

Construction its a 27,000 square-foot greenhouse and a 3,200 square-foot processing facility will start this month. The company said that the new facility will increase its annual global production capacity by five times to 68 tons of cannabis by the end of 2018. By 2020, Tilray says it will create 100 jobs in Portugal.

The government of Portugal licensed Tilray to import cannabis seeds into the country and cultivate medical cannabis for the legal medical market last year.

Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of Tilray and founder of parent company Privateer, which also owns marijuana brand Marley Natural and other marijuana companies, says the expansion to Europe is part of a bigger global business move.

"Tilray's EU Campus is another strategic milestone as we aim to build the world's most trusted and admired medical cannabis brand," Kennedy said in a statement.

Tilray, which was one of the first North American companies to export medical marijuana from Canada to the European Union, and Australia last year, also has subsidiaries in Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

By the end of 2017, the company said, it plans to export cannabis to five other countries. Currently, its products are available in six countries.

Published on: Sep 8, 2017