(Reuters) - Canadian medical cannabis producer Materia won European Union certification for its Malta facility to produce and export cannabis flower across the continent, allowing product supply in Germany, one of the largest cannabis markets in the world.
Several countries across the globe have been legalizing or relaxing laws on recreational use of cannabis, but Europe has remained a difficult market due to strict regulatory requirements, slowing growth.
Most European countries require the 'European Union Good Manufacturing Practices' (EU GMP) certification for companies to import and export cannabis goods.
Despite Malta being a hub due to its government's progressive view on the sector, Materia's facility is only the third in the country to get the coveted certificate.
For Materia, Germany has been its immediate focus. It also has a production and distribution network spanning Germany, Malta, Denmark and the United Kingdom among others.
"The reality is Germany is larger as a market today than all other European markets combined... For us, Germany is markets one, two and three," Nick Pateras, managing director, Europe, said.
Medicinal marijuana prescriptions have been broadly available in Germany since 2017, but all supplies to date have been imported. [https://reut.rs/3y74ZnU]
"Becoming EU GMP certified in Malta represents our most significant milestone since we embarked on this project," Chief Executive Deepak Anand said.
The company, founded in 2018 by pharmaceutical and industry veterans, said it took over two years to develop its facility and prepare it for inspection by the government authorities. It also intends to apply for a licence amendment to process cannabis extracts shortly.
(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)