Cookies is crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
With an exclusive licensing agreement now on the books, Cookies genetics will be grown, harvested and sold as medical cannabis products by Akanda Corp., a cultivation and manufacturing firm based in Portugal.
Summing up the news, Akanda CEO Tej Virk said, “Akanda has secured one of the most prized cannabis assets in Europe.”
Virk’s company boasts a 20,000-sq.-ft. indoor cultivation site (located in Sintra, Portugal, with a capacity of 2,000 kg of harvested cannabis per year) and a mixed outdoor-greenhouse site (located in Aljustrel). It was the Sintra facility that really grabbed the attention of Cookies executives. Across the fledgling medical cannabis markets of Europe, indoor cultivation is a rare breed. Virk ballparked his company’s flower supply above the 20% THC threshold. “We’re trying to lead the charge here in quality and innovation,” he said.
With the Cookies deal, Akanda will have a high-profile opportunity to prove itself to Europe. At the heart of this deal is a connection to the roots of the global cannabis industry—in California. Virk said that demand is strong for California cultivars and for Cookies’ extensive genetics library. This licensing agreement bridges a considerable gap between European medical cannabis patients and the California market.
“The cannabis industry is still a people business,” Virk said, noting Akanda had acquired its cultivation facilities from Holigen earlier this year. The Holigen team had a preexisting relationship with Cookies that helped pave the way to this month’s exclusive deal.
While Akanda has not yet disclosed which cultivars will be grown and sold, Virk said that the Cookies team has committed to collaborative approach to cultivation in Sintra. It will take some time to develop strong mother plants, and Virk pointed to sometime in 2023 for sales to medical patients.
To give the deal even more sizzle, Akanda Corp. had just recently inked a distribution agreement with Cansativa. The multi-year agreement will see Cansativa distributing Akanda-grown cannabis to Germany’s medical market. Virk said that this is a huge turn for the company.
The European cannabis markets are led by Germany, and now Akanda is positioned to hold at least a 10% market share of medical cannabis products in the country, according to a recent press release announcing the first shipment from Sintra.
“[Cansativa] optioned into the entire capacity for our indoor premium site,” Virk said. What makes the prospect even more noteworthy is that Germany could possibly legalize adult-use cannabis sales next year or in 2024; the German federal parliament held multiple hearings on the topic this summer.
“We’ve publicly declared that we want to participate in the adult-use market,” Virk said. “As soon as we see a clear framework we want to be involved.