Business

Canadian cannabis company prepares for Jamaican expansion

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Canada-based medical cannabis company Aphria Inc is preparing to expand its business to Jamaica and several countries in Latin American and Caribbean, through a strategic deal with Scythian Biosciences Corp, a pre-clinical research and development company.

Aphria, in a press release yesterday, announced that it will acquire 100 per cent of the issued and outstanding common shares of LATAM Holdings Inc., a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of Scythian, which own licenses and other assets held through subsidiaries in Argentina, Colombia and Jamaica.

On March 22, 2018, Scythian announced that it had entered into a binding letter of intent to acquire Marigold Acquisitions Inc, a company that holds a 49 per cent interest in Marigold Projects Jamaica.

Marigold Projects Jamaica holds five conditional cannabis licences from the Jamaican Cannabis Licensing Authority related to cultivation, processing, selling, therapeutic or spa services, and research and development activities. The company is also working with the University of West Indies to develop and test products derived from high cannabidiol cannabis sativa strains to establish its efficacy in treating diabetes, hypertension, pain, and other ailments.

In May, Marigold Projects Jamaica signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with the Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston to become the exclusive cannabis dispensary partner of the museum.

The company is set to establish its first medicinal cannabis dispensary and herb house at the Peter Tosh Square at the Pulse Centre in New Kingston from which Aphria is expected to benefit from its indirect ownership in the company. The opening of the herb house remains subject to CLA approval.

Aphria is also expected to acquire another 100 per cent of ABP, South America — an Argentinean pharmaceutical import and distribution company currently licensed for the importation of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil; and 90 per cent of Colcanna SAS, a Colombian medical cannabis producer currently licensed for cultivation and importation of CBD, extraction, production, research and exportation of medical cannabis products.

Scythian will also grant Aphria a right to purchase from Scythian, in one or more separate tranches, up to 90 per cent of the issued and outstanding common shares of an entity in Brazil which Scythian is currently seeking to acquire at terms to be agreed upon.

“Scythian's early stage strategic investments in some of the world's leading markets outside of Canada have fast -tracked our positioning and reputation as a global cannabis leader,” said Scythian CEO Rob Reid. “It therefore feels fitting to exit our Latin American and Caribbean assets to one of the world's leading operators. This timely strategic move allows Aphria to leverage Scythian's first-mover progress in the region while expanding on their own global reach and scope.”

Equipped with a vast network of expert cannabis cultivators and industrial-scale production facilities, Aphria said it is qualified to build upon the solid framework and impactful leadership that Scythian has established in the Latin American and Caribbean markets.

“Aphria has perfected its ability to grow safe, pharma-grade flower to scale that enable the bringing of top cannabis products to researchers and patients across the globe. As Scythian continues to enter untapped medical cannabis markets and successfully establish its presence abroad, Aphria's commercial greenhouse capabilities and pharmaceutical quality standards will grow emerging markets to meet the growing global demand for research-backed cannabis treatments,” it said.

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