Nuuvera, the German daughter company of Aphria, is building an indoor farm for growing medicinal cannabis in Neumunster, Germany. Since the company doesn't have the right papers yet, the growing facility is to be used for medicinal chili at first - but the end goal is to have a 8,000 square meter cannabis plantation in Germany.
Since 2017, the use of cannabis has been legalized for certain limited medical contexts in Germany. Currently though, legal cultivation does not occur there. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) had tendered the deal, and just under 120 companies applied. According to Welt.de, breaking the news on the current expansion, Nuuvera made it into the final ten, but then a competitor complained. The process has been overturned and started again - officially, applicants are not allowed to reveal whether or not they are participating. Now BfArM wants to grant the license in the second quarter of 2019, and expects the procedure to be terminated in the first quarter. BfArM expects the first flowers to be harvested in 2020. A government cannabis agency will then closely monitor cultivation and distribution.
Since they can't grow there yet, both Nuuvera and Aphria have other activities in Germany. Last year Aphria announced its proposed acquisition of CC Pharma, distributor of pharmaceutical products to more than 13,000 pharmacies in Germany. It is anticipated that the transaction will close in January 2019.
Previously Aphria, through its subsidiary Aphria International, announced a supply agreement with CC Pharma to export approximately 1,200 kilograms of medical cannabis products from Canada to Germany. On top of that they've also acquired a 25.1% interest in Berlin-based Schöneberg Hospital to support education about the benefits of medical cannabinoids. “We are focused on leading the way in the medical cannabis market in Germany,” said Hendrik Knopp, Managing Director of Aphria Germany, to Welt.de.
Vault and greenhouse
With its daughter Nuuvera they're also expanding in the German region. Currently a high-security vault for cannabis medicine is being built outside Hamburg, in Bad Bramstedt. If all goes well, the first preparations that the company imports from Canada will be stored here in the spring. The excavators for the construction have already been rolled out. "We are glad that we were finally able to start," Hendrik Knopp shared with the newspaper. Actually, his team wanted to start building a long time ago, but the hurdles for it were extremely high. And also there are only a few construction companies who have ventured on such a special project: 1000 tons of reinforced concrete are installed.
Now there's the greenhouse being built: an 8,000 m2 facility. "We are currently concentrating on the cultivation of pharmaceutical chili," says Knopp. The substances from the hot pods are used, among other things, for thermal paving. And practically, the shoots thrive under similar conditions as cannabis plants - so they can adjust the system to growing medical cannabis as well.
According to Welt.de, Knopp isn't really worried about the license to grow. "I'm a patient person", he says. If all goes well, the plant in Neumünster will be ready in the spring of 2020 and the cannabis plants can enter the greenhouse. Or - as it is currently planned - the first chili plants.