These three global cannabis companies are dabbling beyond U.S. borders

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The competition is heating up for cannabis industry players.

Investors are predicted to funnel more than $16 billion into the industry this year, according to senior economist and vice president at analytics firm New Frontier Data, Beau Whitney. Plus, with signs of Congress warming up to the idea of federal legalization in the U.S., there’s no wonder why the market is gaining such rapid momentum.

Cannabis companies are, quite literally, noticing that the grass is greener on the other side in certain places.

Below, we highlight three cannabis companies with an ever-expanding global presence and their overseas plans to cash in on the rise of cannabis.

Portugal’s Holigen looks to the Alentejo region

With the warm climate and low labor costs in Portugal, Holigen looks set to cash in on cannabis. The Portuguese company has plans to construct one of the biggest cannabis cultivation facilities on the planet.

Its location? In Portugal’s Alentejo region, where the site will churn out 500,000 kilograms annually – and that’s just to start. Holigen hopes that its cannabis cultivation facility will be fully operational by the year 2020 when it is expected to produce 635,000 kilograms per year. 

In August of last year, the Portuguese cannabis company purchased a 5,000-square-meter site in Lisbon. The following month, Holigen conducted its initial non-founder capital raise to start constructing Europe’s biggest indoor and outdoor licensed medical cannabis grow facility.

Holigen’s financing from Canadian firm Flowr, totaling $4.4 million, was critical for the company’s projects to move forward. Flowr purchased a 20 percent stake in the Portuguese cannabis company. The partnership means that Flowr can begin to establish itself in the European and Australian markets, while Holigen emerges as a pioneer in cannabis exporting from each location.

Asterion Cannabis Invests in Australia

Cannabis production in Australia is ramping up after Canadian cannabis firm Asterion invested $7.6 million to construct a Queensland facility. The facility will produce in excess of 500,000 kilograms of cannabis flower on an annual basis.

The Canadian cannabis company specializes in high-quality, organic medical cannabis cultivation through the utilization of precision agriculture – something that enables Asterion to produce genetically uniform cannabis strains.

Asterion’s cannabis business venture in Australia will take place in southern Queensland, close to a place called Toowomba. The investment will include the construction of a greenhouse, and a research and development (R&D) facility.

With Australia-Hong Kong being a popular trade route, Asterion can use its investment as a stepping stone to getting involved in the Asian market.

CEO of Asterion, Stephen Van Deventer, has said he wants to ascend to the status achieved by the Great White North’s biggest cannabis players, such as those of Aphria, Aurora, Canopy and Tilray.

Canopy River Invests in Italy

Canopy Rivers, which describes itself as “a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector,” has invested in Italy, where medical cannabis was legalized in 2013.

Back in December, the Canadian cannabis company increased its stake in CanapaR to 49.9 percent. Based in Sicily, CanapaR is a CBD oil and isolates manufacturer/processor. CanapaR’s main focus is to aid in the development and commercialization of Italy’s CBD and hemp industry.

“We are thrilled with the progress that has been made to date at CanapaR and believe the team is ideally positioned with a European platform,” said the Chief Operating Officer of Canopy Rivers, Olivier Dufourmantelle. “With a population of more than 60 million people, Italy is one of the largest cannabis markets in Europe and we are confident that CanapaR will succeed within that market.”

On top of that, CanapaR’s CEO, Sergio Martines, boasts 30 years of experience in consumer product development and commercialization, as well as international experience in the nutritional, pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic fields.