There is a silent but rapidly growing trend in the medical marijuana world. More and more, medical marijuana growers and producers are moving their operations into facilities formerly owned and operated by big pharmaceutical companies.
Most recently, medical marijuana company Vireo announced that it had leased a former Pfizer facility in Puerto Rico. Now, the company plans to start a large grow operation on the site.
Vireo Moves Into Former Pfizer Plant
Vireo announced the move recently in a press release. As per that release, the company has started leasing facilities in Puerto Rico that were formerly occupied by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
Specifically, the medical marijuana company is now moving into Pfizer’s old 40,000 square foot facility. There, Vireo will establish a new, state of the art cultivation operation.
Vireo’s new cultivation and production site is situated in the Cruce Dávila Business Park in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.
In addition to leasing the former pharmaceutical plant, the company has also secured medical marijuana licenses in Puerto Rico. Specifically, the company has reportedly received pre-approvals to cultivate, process, and sell cannabis and cannabis products throughout Puerto Rico.
And along with the cultivation side of things, Vireo plans to open up to six dispensaries across the island.
“Vireo continues to seek unique opportunities to drive our science-focused approach into larger markets,” Vireo Chief Executive Officer Kyle Kingsley said. “We are thrilled to expand into the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, one of the largest pharmaceutical hubs in the world.”
He added: “This expansion will gives us access to the island’s deep pool of talented professionals, create a wide variety of jobs, and allow us to help many more patients.”
Vireo Expanding Its Market
With the Puerto Rico deal now in place, Vireo has expanded its market yet again. Specifically, it has received approval and licenses to operate in 11 marijuana markets.
To date, these include Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and now Puerto Rico.
The company currently trades publicly on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker VREO.
Medical Marijuana in Puerto Rico
Vireo’s move into Puerto Rico also promises to continue growing Puerto Rico’s medical marijuana scene.
As outlined in Vireo’s press release, Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana in the summer of 2017. That year, Puerto Rico passed the MEDICINAL Act. This act created the island’s relatively new medical marijuana program.
And now, just a couple years later, there are reportedly around 72,000 patients registered with the program. Looking forward, Puerto Rico’s Department of Health said it hopes to add at least 100,000 more new patients by the end of 2019.
A New Trend?
For example, medical marijuana company Mile High Labs recently bought a former Novartis pharmaceutical plant in Broomfield, Colorado.
According to Fierce Pharma, there is a lot of logistical and infrastructure overlap between the two industries. And this makes it very easy to transition from pharmaceutical production to medical marijuana production.
“We require many of the same types of machinery and outfitting,” Vireo spokesperson Albe Zakes told Fierce Pharma.
Zakes went on to say these similarities include “strong security systems, clean rooms, testing facilities, laboratories.”