Village Farms sends first cannabis shipment to growing UK market

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(This story has been updated to reflect that the products are now available for purchase in the United Kingdom.)

Village Farms International has sent its first shipment of two cannabis brands to the growing United Kingdom market.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-headquartered company said Wednesday that the brands – Pure Sunfarms and The Original Fraser Valley Weed Co. – will be distributed by 4C Labs, a privately held Canadian medical cannabis company with import and distribution licenses in the U.K.

A Village Farms spokesperson told MJBizDaily the products are now available for pharmaceutical purchase by medical patients in the U.K.

“Through our wholly owned subsidiary, Pure Sunfarms, we are now exporting our preferred Canadian-grown cannabis products to four international medical markets, including Germany, Australia and Israel, which together with the UK, represent a population of more than 185 million,” Village Farms CEO Michael DeGiglio said in a statement.

The U.K. is the company’s fourth overseas medical cannabis market.

The spokesperson didn’t indicate how large the shipment was or how much it expects to ship in the future.

International sales represent a fast-growing segment for its Canadian division.

The company reported international sales of 5.1 million Canadian dollars ($4 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2023, a sharp increase from the CA$1.9 million recorded in the same period in 2022.

The U.K. market has experienced meaningful growth in recent years, in particular since the government started allowing imports in bulk in 2020.

Previously, imports were supplied through patient-specific approvals.

In 2020, there were approximately 4,469 privately prescribed medical cannabis items in England, according to data from the NHS Business Services Authority.

However, in the first nine months of 2022 – the most recent data – that figure had grown to 182,010.

Unlike Canada, the U.K. does not publish national medical cannabis sales data.

Shares of Village Farms trade as VFF on the Nasdaq.