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Cannaray, Therismos, and Aqualitas Unite to Launch Wellford at Cannabis Europa

Cannaray Limited, its medical cannabis subsidiary Therismos, and Canadian ‘aquaponics’ cannabis cultivator Aqualitas are set to merge to create a new international vertically integrated cannabis company.

Set to officially launch at Cannabis Europa this week, the newly combined entity, which reportedly saw combined sales of £40m last year, will be rebranded as Wellford.

With a supplier of organically certified, aquaponic, non-irradiated EU GMP medicinal cannabis now part of the company, Wellford plans to capitalise on its established distribution networks across the UK and Germany in and generate an ambitious £60m in revenue this year.

Cannaray Limited’s Co-founder & Chief Business Officer Joshua Roberts told Business of Cannabis: “Now that we have vertical integration, as far as I know, we’re the only company globally that has organic products, has EU GMP, and then has the ability to get it directly to the patient and to the pharmacy in the UK and in Germany.”

The merger 

In March this year, Business of Cannabis reported that Cannaray Limited had signed a ‘definitive agreement’ to merge with Aqualitas Inc., a unique cultivator that uses ‘living soil’ and nutrient-dense waste of thousands of koi carp fish.

As such, the Nova Scotia-based grower is now set to combine with Cannaray’s medical cannabis divisions, Therismos Limited in the UK, and Therismos GmbH in Germany.

In the UK, Therismos already has an established medical cannabis dispensing pharmacy and medical cannabis clinic, which are understood to have recorded 10x combined growth year-on-year in April 2024.

Thanks to a partnership with Alliance Healthcare, a subsidiary of pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, the company also has access to over 4,000 pharmacies in the ‘Alphega’ and ‘gesund leben’ network in Germany.

“One of our investors is also an investor in Aqualitas, so he introduced us back in 2020. At that point, Aqualitas didn’t have EU GMP, which is the required pharmaceutical certification to get direct shipment into Europe,” Mr Roberts explained.

With both companies ‘unproven’ at that point, and unclear about what their direction was going to be, the pair decided that it was unclear how the combination would work.

Since then, however, with Aqualitas developing its unique growing methods and securing its EU GMP licence, and Cannaray deciding to shift its focus squarely on the European medical cannabis opportunity, this equation has changed.

“We have been looking for really good flower products, but it’s very difficult if you don’t actually have a vertical integration, because you go to a supplier and they can be poached by somebody else who will come in with more money. We came to the conclusion we need to go out and find a real growing partner just to own that supply chain.”

Rebrand

Now that a definitive merger agreement has been signed, Cannaray CBD will now been spun out into a separate entity, while Wellford will become a new vertically integrated medical cannabis company focused on the rapidly expanding European market.

Mr Roberts continued: “Cannaray Limited was originally made with a CBD arm and a medical arm. For better or worse, we eponymously named the company Cannaray CBD.”

After raising £8m in 2019 and subsequently purchasing Therismos, the company gradually went through the process of shifting its focus to the medical side.

The idea to entirely spin out its successful CBD brand was first made public in September 2022, when Cannaray and Cellular Goods (now Cel AI) announced plans for a £18.6m reverse takeover deal.

In February 2023, following a sharp decline in Cellular Goods’ share price, the deal was pulled over concerns it would no longer be in the interest of Cannaray Limited’s shareholders.

As part of the proposed deal, Cannaray said it was looking to split its business, stating that it would then ‘be exclusively focused’ on growing its medical cannabis division Therismos across Europe.

“Going through this whole process and refocusing on the medical side led us to the idea to spin out the CBD company. Cannaray CBD is no longer part of Cannaray Limited.

So, this is really why we are launching at Cannabis Europa, changing our name from Cannaray Limited to Wellford Limited, just to make it very clear that we are just a medical company now, and we’re nothing to do with Cannaray CBD anymore.”

Aqualita’s Facility in Nova Scotia

Aquaponic cultivation 

All of Wellford’s cannabis products, including Aqualitas’ organic non-irradiated flower and Therismos’ suite of products, will also soon be rebranded.

According to the company, Therismos’ current line-up will be rebranded in Germany in September, and in the UK around October, and it will make up a new ‘access’ line of products.

Aqualitas’ aquaponics products, which are already available in the UK and Germany, will represent its premium line-up.

Now able to produce 2.8 tonnes a year, Aqualitas has developed a unique growing method which utilises so-called ‘living soil’, and now has a fully funded plan for expanding the its facility.

This method, according to the company, creates product offerings with enhanced potency, terpene profiles and a very low microbial, yeast and mould count.

The level of ‘micros’ is so low that Aqualitas says the combined levels of yeast and moulds from the 88 harvests it has conducted since launching would still be below the European requirements for a single batch.

Effectively, this means that the product is so clean there is no need for it to be irradiated.

Aqualitas keeps around 2,500 koi fish in their facility, which create ‘living water’ through their natural waste and chemical secretions. This is then filtered down and added to organic soil created from 16 ingredients containing all the nutrients required for plants to flourish, with no need for any additional fertiliser.

The added water is understood to encourage healthy bacteria, preventing the harmful bacteria from flourishing, thus producing extremely clean crops.

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