By Edward Tsumele
Highlands North Investments, the Lesotho based cannabis company that supplies medical cannabis to Europe, has done it again. This week on August 11, 2021, the company announced that it has shipped to Europe,”the biggest’ cannabis shipment to Europe so far from the African continent.
Highlands Investments, a licensed cultivator of high-quality GAP and ISO 22000 certified cannabis has secured the sale of 8.5 tonnes of its Highlands Pure THC and CBD flower and trim into the European medical cannabis market. This shipment follows a previously successful shipment of 176.5kg of THC flower exported to Europe in April.
And this latest shipment of a significant amount of medical cannabis to overseas markets, in many ways is a demonstration of the company’s foothold on the international medical cannabis market, which is currently concentrated in Europe.
“We believe this to be one of the largest legal shipments of medical grade cannabis to date and is a significant milestone for our business. Our cannabis is GAP and ISO 22000 certified with a proven supply chain into the much-coveted European medical cannabis market”, says Highlands Investments Managing Director, Mark Corbett.
The shipping of cannabis is a highly complex process as the industry is closely monitored and regulated. Both the supplier and receiver of the cannabis products need to be licensed. The shipping companies also require stringent licensing to move raw cannabis materials and other products between legal jurisdictions.
“Having proven our ability to meet the stringent shipping requirements with our April shipment, we successfully secured the bulk sale of the remainder of our 2021 harvest, comprising just over 2,000kg of THC and 6,500kg of CBD flower and trim. The size of the shipment, which is enough to fill almost four 40 foot containers, required a chartered plane to transport to Macedonia,” Corbett says.
The European Cannabis Market is forecast to reach USD3.8 billion by 2025 according to the Prohibition Partners Key Insights from the European Cannabis Report, 6th Edition (April 2021).
“The rapidly growing global medical, wellness and consumer cannabis markets all increasingly require certified, high-quality flower to meet their expanding product portfolios.
We are fortunate that we have some of the most competitive cost per hectare metrics and this, together with our ISO 22000 certification and proven route to market, firmly entrenches Highlands as the partner of choice in this competitive space,’ adds Corbett.
“With demand for quality cannabis growing, we are now in the process of extending our Highlands Pure range of products to include GMP certified distillates, isolates and crude, these products will be available on the global market from quarter 4 2021,” Corbett concludes.
Almost all cannabis start ups in Southern Africa at the moment are concentrating on supplying the lucrative European medical cannabis market, raising questions about the sustainability of such a market approach, especially when local medical cannabis is non existent. Currently medical cannabis products for patients who have a legal prescription from a doctor rely on imported products as currently no local company is licensed to produce and sell medicinal cannabis for local patients.
Some in the industry therefore argue that it is important for the development of the local industry, especially for its sustainability, If medical cannabis was grown, processed and manufactured locally, for both local requirements and for the export market.