Village Farms International, Inc. announced that Leli Holland B.V. has been granted the tenth and final license to cultivate cannabis legally in the Netherlands under the Dutch Closed Supply Chain Experiment program, which is expected to commence operations next year. Subsequently, Village Farms completed the acquisition of 85% of privately held Leli Holland under its previously announced purchase option agreement. This enables Village Farms to directly participate as a Netherlands-based cultivator and distributor of cannabis in the Dutch Program, under which the Netherlands will become the first major European country to permit large-scale cultivation and distribution of adult-use cannabis.
The Dutch Program is intended to evaluate and determine whether and how controlled cannabis can be legally supplied to existing retailers (known as "coffee shops") and what the effects of such would be, specifically in the context of concerns around public order and safety, public health and crime amidst the current Dutch cannabis policy, which tolerates the sale and use of cannabis for recreational purposes but prohibits production and distribution to coffee shops.
"We are so proud to come home to the Netherlands as one of just ten companies that will be licensed to cultivate adult-use cannabis and distribute high-quality cannabis products to coffee shops in the Netherlands," said Michael DeGiglio, CEO of Village Farms. "Village Farms has a long, rich history in the Netherlands, and majority ownership of Leli will allow for direct and meaningful participation in the Dutch Program and contribute to reshaping the future of recreational cannabis in the Netherlands. Village Farms' Vice President of European Cannabis, Orville Bovenschen, born and raised in the Netherlands, will lead our cannabis venture there, splitting his time between our head office in Orlando and the Netherlands. We look forward to bringing our deep expertise and decades of experience in the design, construction, start-up, and operation of high-performance, low-cost controlled environment agriculture facilities to the Dutch cannabis industry."
"For decades, the Netherlands has been a global pioneer in decriminalizing cannabis, and the Dutch Program is a historic, positive step in the evolution of the country's cannabis regulation that will make it the first major European country to permit large-scale recreational cultivation. Utilizing the existing retail sales channel will benefit Dutch consumers greatly, and we look forward to supplying these consumers with high-quality, safe, and tested cannabis in the participating jurisdictions. We expect that our Dutch roots, combined with our Canadian experience, will contribute to a successful pilot program and the program's potential to expand nationally."
Mr. DeGiglio added, "As cannabis sentiment shifts favorably, we are pursuing, and will continue to pursue, other European opportunities as they unfold. Our direct participation in the Dutch Program, leveraging our position as a top Canadian Licensed Producer with EU-GMP certification, strongly positions Village Farms for success in these markets as they legalize."
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