The Italian Cannabis Market
Investing in Cannabis industry in Italy
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA is seeking to reinvigorate the cannabis cultivation industry in Italy by stabilizing the cultivation procedures to create pharmaceutical grade biomass. MOCA is importing medical grade CBD hemp products into Australia and New Zealand from Italy.
The cultivation of CBD rich hemp in Italy is not currently suitable for medicinal purposes and thus lacks quality, consistency and reliability needed to supply a global medical industry.
MOCA has developed internationally recognized (Australian, Canada, New Zealand) procedures and protocols to stabilize cultivation, production and manufacturing of CBD based medicine. The Company is working with European cultivators to educate, and empower growers to produce pharmacy grade products.
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) holds importation and wholesale licences from the Federal government in Australia. The Company supplies hospitals, medical practitioners and pharmacies with medical cannabis products sourced from around the world. In 2019, MOCA was a finalist in the international tender to supply the Italian Ministry of Defense with its annual quota of medical cannabis.
Over the last decade, discoveries by the eminent scientist, Dr Raphael Mechoulam, a Bulgarian-born Israeli chemist, put cannabis onto the scientific and medicinal table for discussion. The research team began studying cannabis in the early 1960s to isolate the chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive effects.
Of the more than 100 cannabinoids discovered, cannabidiol or CBD is a compound that is non-psychoactive, and clinically proven for its usefulness in treating everything from chronic pain to multiple sclerosis to epilepsy.
The global medical cannabis industry is growing exponentially as the new science emerges. Cannabis is now widely recognized as a powerful alternative to opioid-based medicine and is utilized by a wide range of patient demographics.
MOCA is developing the industry in Italy, whilst providing knowledge in agriculture to meet the international Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) necessary for global competitiveness with cultivation practices that empower farmers with a viable alternative cultivation crop.
MOCA is a vertically integrated international cannabis company, which works with cannabis in all steps of its production, from the cultivation and manufacturing chain including processing and marketing via our online digital distribution partnerships.
MOCA’s processes of production regenerate the soil and create strong ecosystems in the agricultural process. MOCA propriety techniques improve soil quality, create efficiency in cultivation and utilize energy and resource efficient agricultural practices in producing GMP certified medicines. The focus of cultivation in Italy is in regions that have suitable environmental and climatic conditions.
Cannabis, a broad overview
Cannabis sativa is an annual herbaceous flowering plant indigenous to eastern Asia but now of cosmopolitan distribution due to widespread cultivation. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that its flowers are either male or female and usually not both. Carl Linnaeus first classified cannabis sativa in 1753. Evidence suggests that cannabis cultivation by humans dates back over 12,000 years, which makes it one of the oldest cultivated crops in the entire history of humankind. The cannabis plant has many uses and history tells us that once first civilizations established, China was the main cultivator of the region and around 6000 B.C. many of its numerous provinces heavily relied on the cannabis trade and production. The first uncovered records of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates around to 4000 B.C.
The cannabis and hemp distinction
Hemp and cannabis are, taxonomically speaking, the same plant; they are different names for the same genus (Cannabis) and species. Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The difference is that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent (by dry weight) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance found in cannabis. By comparison, cannabis typically contains 5 to 20 percent THC.
Hemp contains no psychoactive component.
Hemp as a source of medicine
As mentioned, hemp has very low levels of the psychoactive compound THC. In fact, the cannabinoid produced in high concentrations by hemp plant cultivars is cannabidiol (CBD).
Several clinical findings have documented cannabidiol (CBD) efficacy in treating pain, neurological and movement disorders, nausea of patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, loss of appetite and weight (cachexia) related to AIDS, and glaucoma.
Oncologists were among the first medical professionals to advocate for the medical use of CBD, with a random survey of the members of the American Society of Oncology conducted in 1990. More than 1000 oncologists responded to the survey; 44% reported that they had recommended cannabis to at least one patient.
In 2019, Member states of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) received the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence’s (ECDD) cannabis recommendations. The report described cannabidiol -
“Cannabidiol is found in cannabis and cannabis resin but does not have psychoactive properties and has no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence. It does not have significant ill effects. Cannabidiol has been shown to be effective in the management of certain treatment-resistant, childhood-onset epilepsy disorders. It was approved for this use in the United States in 2018 and is currently under consideration for approval by the EU.” Source
Hemp and the medical perspective
CBD is one of 113 cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa and is especially abundant in hemp, we currently know that CBD is generally considered one of the most important phytocannabinoids in existence, for its wide range of medical benefits.
Here are the 7 main benefits of CBD, according to clinical research:
1. Reduces neuropathic pain
2. Relieves spasms and inflammation
3. Reduces seizure frequency in epilepsy patients
4. Relieves anxiety and insomnia caused by PTSD
5. Slows down the advancement of MS
6. Acts as an antipsychotic
7. Relieves anxiety
In general, hemp cultivated in Italy has been for personal and recreational use and the Italian government do not have medical CBD standards similar to those imposed in Australia. Thus, cultivators are growing hemp in similar fashion as when hemp was grown for textile, rope and building material.
Medical hemp products must follow specific international, national, or state requirements related to growing, formulation, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. The use of stable genetics fundamental to a robust medical production. As is the controlled use of non-chemical pest management and fertilization of the plant. Harvesting and drying processes must ensure that mold does not remain in the biomass. These are fundamental and important considerations in developing plant based medicine for pharmaceutical use.
Currently the emerging hemp cultivation industry in Italy does not meet these requirements and thus limit the international market of potential product.
MOCA developing medical hemp cultivation in Italy
MOCA is engaging motivated farmers in southern Italy to leverage our unique hemp genetics specifically designed for medical use. Consistent and unique medicinal genetics provide MOCA and its growers with a distinct competitive advantage in the global hemp derived phytocannabinoid industry.
We work with cultivators in Italy who form part of the hemp industry to educate and empower the cultivation process to meet medical standards. Our project will:-
• Provide educational technical specifications of our cultivation requirements.
• Furnish Italian cultivators with plant cultivars that are high in rare and unique naturally occurring synergistic cannabis compounds.
• We will provide our farmers with unique and proprietary genetics in order for them to assure the highest success rate possible.
• Our protocol ensure that before and after each harvest, our team test the plant material to ensure the absence of pesticides, heavy metals, molds, or mildews.
• After testing is complete, our farmers then harvest the plants to our specifications.
• MOCA acquires the biomass at pre-determined prices from the cultivars.
• The phytocannabinoid-rich plant material dried in our facility in Italy to ensure no mold or bacteria remain.
• MOCA sends the dried biomass to extraction facilities for manufacture into full spectrum oil or isolate.
• Product certification follows at one of our testing labs before shipping directly to our B2B customers in Australia.
Why is MOCA working in Italy
Why is MOCA working in Italy
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) Pty Ltd is led by Italian born Cav. Alessandro Sorbello. Alessandro has operated business around the world for the past 35 years and manages the MOCA team. With over 40 years of combined expertise in the medical cannabis field spanning a dozen countries.
Both of the directors of MOCA are Italian born and fluent in the language, both have conducted extensive business in Italy. The Italian legal framework for cultivation and the country’s history of cultivation make attractive business since.
On 14 January 2017, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies published a directive clarifying the tools for improving the cultivation and the agro-industrial chain of hemp, Rule 2 December 2016, Article n. 242. The directive reiterates that the cultivation of hemp is legal and does not need any kind of license or authorization from the government, which is required, instead, for the cultivation of plants that have a Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rate of over 0.2%, as specified by European regulation.
The directive outlined rules related to:
· the cultivation and production of industrial hemp;
· the use and consumption of hemp-derived compounds from local production;
· the development of local supply chains that enhance research, and promotion of a sustainable and eco-friendly economy - a ‘new hemp economy’;
· the production of goods, beauty products, and renewable raw materials and intermediate products for various sectors;
· and the development of bioengineering work, land recycling, and research on industrial hemp.
MOCA and the Italian connection including the Italian Ministry of Defense MOD
On the 18th of June 2019, the Italian governments Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced a new tender for the supply of 400kgs of medicinal cannabis estimated at US$1,700,000 to supplement what the country is currently cultivating.
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:
- Lot 1 - dried cannabis flowers with high content of THC (320 kg);
- Lot 2 - dried cannabis flowers with similar content of THC and CBD (40 kg);
- Lot 3 - dried cannabis flowers with high content of CBD (40 kg).
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) participated in the tender and was the only non-Canadian company involved, and only one of four companies that passed the stringent interrogation to proceed into the final round of selection.
The four companies reviewed by the Italian Military were Tilray, Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA), Aurora and Canopy Growth.
Tilray is a Canadian pharmaceutical and cannabis company, incorporated in the United States with primary operations headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Tilray also has operations in Australia & New Zealand, Germany, Portugal, and Latin America. https://www.tilray.com
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) is a privately held Australian based company with offices in Sydney and Auckland. The Company is developing a CBD cultivation network in Italy and THC cultivation facility in New Zealand. https://www.medicinalorganiccannabis.org/
Aurora Cannabis Inc. is a Canadian licensed cannabis producer, headquartered in Edmonton. It trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange as ACB. As of late September 2018, Aurora Cannabis had eight licensed production facilities, five sales licences, and operations in 24 countries. https://www.auroramj.com
Canopy Growth Corporation, based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, by April 2019, Canopy was the world's largest cannabis company, based on the value of all shares, or market capitalization. At that time, Constellation Brands Inc. controlled over 35% percent of the company, which had approximately 3,200 employees and is valued at over US$18 billion. https://www.canopygrowth.com
As a finalist in the tender, MOCA proceeded to the final review with the Italian Military. The three Canadian companies each relied on their own cultivation to win the tender, whilst MOCA was able to work with its international networks.
MOCA is extremely pleased with the opportunity to compete with the largest companies in the world and gained considerable professional expertise in the process.
Australian Cannabis Market
- Population (m) 24.6
- GDP (US$ t) 1.3
- Total Healthcare Expenditure (US$ b, est.) 133.4
- Total Beauty & Wellbeing Expenditure (US$ b, est.) 172.2
- Alcohol Consumption (Litres Per Capita Per Year) 10.6
- Prevalence of Cannabis Users (%) 10.2
Source: World Bank/ ABS/ WHO/ UNODC/ Prohibition Partners
Australia Cannabis Forecast
Cannabis Jobs Australia estimates there will be 50,000 cannabis jobs in Australia by 2028. Australia’s legal cannabis market is forecast to grow from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2027, the 5th largest in the world, according to the report “The Road Map to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market”.
In the Oceania Cannabis Report – produced by London-based advisory group Prohibition Partners – Australia’s medical cannabis market is estimated to be worth up to $1.3b by 2028 while recreational part is about $3.5b.
Overview of Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) Pty Ltd
Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) Pty Ltd has operation in three countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy. The Company has developed vertical integration processes and controls more than one stage of the supply chain turning raw material into a product and delivering it to the consumer.
Australian Federal and State Government licences allow MOCA to import, export and wholesale cannabis and cannabis-based products both high in CBD and THC.
In Australia and New Zealand, target markets are pharmacies, hospitals, medical practices, and practitioners. In Italy and Europe, MOCA targets wholesale supply of CBD biomass and extracted oil.
As at July 2019, MOCA is shortlisted in a tender to supply the Italian Ministry of Defense with 400 kg of medical cannabis.
The Company has a digital media partnership that provides excellent online visibility in the medical and recreational cannabis sectors and has search engine dominance in the organic cannabis space, both geographically and by sector.
MOCA focuses on ethical business and three key points, People, Planet & Profit. The Company specializes in organically grown cannabis products and regulates cultivation practices to improve soil quality. It concerns itself with all areas of physical, social and business contact to ensure the triple P bottom line results. MOCA differentiates itself by being the first organic medical cannabis Company in Australia and in Italy.