Canadian cannabis company Aurora Cannabis Inc. has been selected as the only winner of a license to provide medical cannabis in Italy. The firm beat out five other companies who applied with the Italian government for the position.
Aurora won Italy’s first tender in January 2018 and has since been providing the nation with medical cannabis products. The new two-year contract requires Aurora to supply a minimum of 400 kilograms (about 882 pounds). The products are imported through the Canadian company’s wholly-owned European subsidiary Aurora Deutschland but are cultivated at its Canadian facilities, according to a press release.
In Italy, medical cannabis is distributed through pharmacies. Medical cannabis is purchased through an agency within the Italian Ministry of Defense. The Italian Army also cultivates medical cannabis but in 2017 the program only produced 220 pounds for the entire nation. The end product is reportedly low quality but over the next two years the Army’s cannabis production is expected to triple and recent health legislation allocated $2 billion in funding for the program.
Under Italy’s program, medical cannabis is approved for patients suffering from severe conditions including chronic pain; spasms associated with pain, such as those suffering from spinal cord lesions or multiple sclerosis; patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and HIV therapies; drug-resistant glaucoma; and Tourette’s syndrome. Additionally, medical cannabis use is permitted in cases that require appetite stimulation, such as cachexia and anorexia. The guidelines allow for medical cannabis use when all other conventional treatments fail.