More than 230 workers of what at one point became the largest red rose growing greenhouse in Europe and one of the seven companies with the most workers in the province of Soria, who are mostly out of a job now, are waiting for a decision of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) of the Ministry of Health. They have asked for an authorization to produce medical cannabis in the facilities of the former Aleia Roses in Garray, 9 kilometers from Soria.
Aleia Roses' two gigantic greenhouses, of 7 hectares each, were used to grow roses of the Red Naomi variety, considered one of the best in the world. Most of the production was shipped to the Netherlands, a world power in the sector.
When it went public in 2016, the company reported that it had invested €50 million and planned to produce 40 million flowers a year. However, just four years later, the business filed for bankruptcy and Aleia Roses went into receivership. In 2020, the investment fund Full Moon Investments, which specializes in investments in the CBD and medical cannabis sector, acquired the Aleia Roses facilities through the company Ondara Directorship.
Initially, the new owner announced that they were going to combine rose cultivation with that of medical cannabis, but last April it suddenly shut down all production of the Red Naomi. As a result, 192 jobs were suspended, effective until next December, 33 were dismissed, with a commitment to reinstatement, and about 40 remained working in the greenhouses to prepare the cannabis plantation and maintain the facilities. All this, of course, given the AEMPS grants the needed authorization for the cultivation of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
The suspension of jobs is not a consequence of the COVID pandemic, but of the company's economic situation; therefore, it hasn't benefitted from the aid approved by the Government for this specific purpose.
These 230 employees account for 0.6% of the population of the capital of Soria. In Madrid, a company would need to have 19,000 workers to reach a similar percentage, and in Barcelona, it would require almost 10,000.
In fact, Soria, together with Lapland, are the areas with the fewest inhabitants per square kilometer in the entire EU.