Much of the global cannabis industry's growth will occur in markets outside Canada and the U.S. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) knows this, and the Canadian marijuana producer is rapidly expanding its international operations.
Canopy Growth announced on Monday that its Spectrum Therapeutics division has obtained licenses from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Home Office to store and distribute cannabis-based medicinal products in the United Kingdom. Canopy says that its new facility in the U.K. will allow it to provide faster delivery to customers with prescriptions for medicinal marijuana.
"We are delighted to have been granted licenses from both the MHRA and Home Office in order to provide a solution to one of the most significant barriers for access in the U.K.," Spectrum managing director Cosmo Feilding Mellen said in a press release. "We are actively working with regulators to find the best way to ensure we can deliver continuous treatment to patients within the framework that exists."
The license also permits Canopy to import cannabis-based medicinal products directly from Spectrum's global supply networks, thereby eliminating the need for third-party suppliers.
"Medicinal cannabis has been available in the U.K. for less than 12 months, and in that time, we have established cost-effective U.K. infrastructure to meet the needs of patients," Feilding Mellen said.
Canopy also announced that Spectrum would be the exclusive supplier of medical cannabis to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Spectrum's licensed facilities in Denmark and other countries will supply Luxembourg with cannabis until Dec. 31, 2021.
Luxembourg's government decriminalized medical cannabis in 2018 for patients with severe illnesses, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Medical professionals with specialized training are now able to prescribe cannabis to those patients.
"We are proud to share news of this decision from the Government of Luxembourg, connecting patients to medicine supplied through our European platform," Canopy managing director Paul Steckler said. "Luxembourg is a country with big ambitions when it comes to medical cannabis, and we are excited to have earned the opportunity to supply this new market."
These announcements help to expand Canopy's already strong international presence. It has operations in 11 countries besides Canada and the U.S., as well as partnerships in several other nations. Only fellow cannabis titan Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), which has active operations in 25 countries, can claim to have more.
Moreover, Canopy Growth is likely to close the gap with Aurora in terms of its international footprint in the coming years. With more than $2 billion in cash reserves, Canopy is by far the more cash-rich company. By comparison, Aurora had less than $300 million in cash on its balance sheet when it reported its fourth-quarter results in September. With substantially more capital to allocate toward expanding its international cannabis empire, Canopy could eventually eclipse Aurora in terms of countries served.