Canadian medical marijuana company Aphria pegs C$225mln war chest to build new facilities

Aphria to build a C$55mln cannabis extraction center in Ontario as Canada gears up to begin legal pot sales by late summer

Canada's Senate voted to pass Bill C-45 — landmark legislation to legalize recreational marijuana

With the Canadian Senate voting ‘Yes’ Thursday to legalize recreational cannabis, Canadian medical marijuana growers are all chasing first-mover advantage and global expansion. Aphria Inc (TSE:APH) was quick off the block with its announcement Thursday that it will make a big investment in Leamington, Ontario.

The company, which has an eye on global expansion, said it is raising C$225mln to pay for new cannabis facilities in Canada, as well as potential acquisitions. Some of the funds will be plowed into a new C$55mln extraction facility in Leamington, Ontario that will use a variety of methods to produce concentrated cannabis products like oils.

READ: A game-changing vote: Canadian senate votes ‘Yes’ to legalize recreational cannabis

"The Extraction Centre of Excellence will give Aphria a significant competitive advantage in cannabis concentrates, which are expected to be a significant product category," said Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld, in a statement. "This facility will be the centre of industry-leading R&D and commercial production of next generation cannabis concentrate products."

The Canadian firm also said it plans to spend an additional C$20mln at its Aphria Diamond facility to increase capacity by 20 tonnes annually and allow for alternative growing techniques, and C$10mln to add 10 tonnes of capacity to its Aphria One operation.

Canadian producers like Aphria are pushing really hard to take that first-mover advantage as the country gets all set to legalize marijuana sales. The Canadian Senate voted Thursday to pass Bill C-45 — the landmark legislation to legalize recreational marijuana — by a vote of 56 to 30, with one abstention.

Aphria is one of Canada's low-cost producers and sells medical cannabis. It is in Leamington, Ontario, the greenhouse capital of Canada.

Quick facts: Aphria

Price: $8.96

Market: TSX
Market Cap: $2.25 billion

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