The race to supply medical cannabis in the burgeoning European market is on, and today Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB; TSX: ACB) pulled ahead by striking a new deal with the Italian government. 

After initially being awarded the first public tender from Italy to supply medical marijuana back in early 2018, the company has again won the latest public tender and will continue that relationship for another two years. 

Due to be officially extended in September, the newly struck deal will see Aurora providing a minimum of 400 kg of cannabis from both Canadian production sites as well as the company’s European-based subsidiary Aurora Deutschland. 

Commenting on this latest international win after beating out four other companies that applied for the public tender, Aurora’s Chief Global Business Development Officer Neil Belot had this to say: 

We’re committed to building a successful, long-term medical cannabis market in Italy. We want to continue to build our connection with patients and pharmacies in the Italian market, who have come to know and appreciate our products over most of the past two years.

Through Italy’s current medical cannabis program, marijuana products are provided to the Agenzia Industrie Difesa for distribution to pharmacies that serve medical patients. 

Medical cannabis is highly regulated in the country, and while recreational usage remains illegal, laws have relaxed on hemp recently. 

In 2016, the “Cannabis Light” law was passed to legalize the growing and consumption of plants with 0.2% THC or less, which advocates have seen as a springboard towards increased recreational legalization efforts. 

Aside from that legalization in Italy, low THC and high CBD products are rapidly becoming more popular in North America, which is a trend that companies such as Aurora are seeking to capitalize on quickly. 

Back in May, the company announced a partnership with the U.S. mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship to kick of a series of CBD research projects aimed at helping athletes recover from injuries. 

In other recent company news, Aurora has joined the growing list of Canadian licensed producers seeking to add outdoor grow operations to supplement their standard indoor facilities. Health Canada just granted the company licenses to grow at new locations in British Columbia and Quebec.