Australian Cannabis Company Making Big Moves In Italy

Privately held Australian company shortlisted to supply cannabis to Italian Ministry of Defense

Rome July 7th 2019

In a classic case of David versus Goliath, a privately held Australian medical cannabis company challenges the world’s largest cannabis companies to become one of only four companies under review by the Italian governments Ministry of Defense (MOD) to take the prize estimated at US$1,700,000.

On the 18th of June 2019, Italy’s MOD announced a new tender for the supply of 400kgs of medicinal cannabis to supplement what the country is currently cultivating. Italy has increased cultivation and notwithstanding the increase of medical cannabis, it is still necessary to import cannabis from abroad to ensure the continuity of treatment of Italian patients under therapy. The Pharmaceutical Chemical Plant of Florence is currently the only Italian plant authorized to produce cannabis-based products for medical use in Italy

Alessandro Sorbello Medical Cannabis Expert and entrepreneur
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA)is a privately owned Sydney based cannabis aggregator and is the only non-Canadian owned company that has proceeded into the final round in the tender. MOCA’s Italian born directors Alessandro Sorbello and Emanuela Ispani were present at the Italian Military offices in Rome last week for the opening of the public tenders and responded to technical questions from the MOD. Sorbello said, "MOCA has arrived onto the global competitive market by being extremely innovative and agile in its business operations, as a fully licensed Australian medical cannabis company, we are able to work with cultivators and suppliers around the world. The MOD were impressed with our technical procedures in developing cultivars and stabling plant reproduction to maintain replicability in our medication”.

The four companies now under review by the Italian Military are Tilray, Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia, Aurora and Canopy Growth, the company that in August 2018, Constellation Brands announced would invest US$3.8 billion and is valued at over US$18 billion.

The international tender had a very tight period and closed on the 3rd of July 2019, interested companies had just one week to request more information from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and submit applications to Rome. The tender caught the attention of cannabis company giants from around the world and was subject to extremely stringent quality and GMP certification criteria.  Furnishing the Italian military is prestigious and gives great authority to the winning submission, so participation in the tender was spirited and fierce.  

The MOD called for three lots in the tender of medical cannabis and defined the quality and amount of supply. Bidders were able to submit their offers for a single batch or all of the following batches:

  • dried cannabis flowers with high content of THC (320 kg);
  • dried cannabis flowers with similar content of THC and CBD (40 kg);
  • dried cannabis flowers with high content of CBD (40 kg).

The supply will occur on a four-monthly basis up to the amount of 400 kg and the successful company will have two years from September 2019 to deliver the product. Italy is one of the largest European markets for medical cannabis and, with a population of 60 million, holds enormous potential for businesses looking to expand. In recent years, the Italian medical cannabis system has been struggling to meet patient demand, reported at over 20,000 patients in 2018.

“Being shortlisted against the three largest cannabis companies in the world is a great achievement for MOCA who is developing its Italian business and imports raw and refined CBD products directly from cultivators. The company has operation in Australia and New Zealand. Our network is digitally focused and is enhanced because of our partnerships with online powerhouse OrganicMarijuana.com," said MOCA CEO Alessandro Sorbello. 

The companies in the tender are all subject to providing additional information to the MOD and MOCA is completing its requirement currently.  The four finalists in the tender have until Friday the 12th of July to meet all outstanding matters as indicated by the Commission President 

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Ministry of Defence offer for tender
https://www.difesa.it/AID/Bandi_di_gara/Pagine/Indizione_di_gara_procedura_aperta_accellerata_per_la_fornitura_400_kg_cannabis_per_le_esigenze_stabilimento_Firenze.aspx

MOD's announcement and shortlist of companies (in Italian). https://www.difesa.it/AID/Bandi_di_gara/Documents/2019/gara_fornitura_cannabis/verbale_apertura_documentazione_amministrativa.pdf

Google translated English version
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LQY6ljODAce81YJY-ciYdwT7H82wqrA5

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