Popular U.S. Edibles Brand Announces European Launch

Wana Brands will launch in Europe through a partnership with the Alpen Group, a vertically integrated cannabis company in Switzerland.
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Wana Brands, a leading manufacturer of cannabis edibles in the United States, announced on Thursday that it is expanding to Europe through a strategic partnership with Alpen Group. With an initial launch in Switzerland, the home of cannabis pharmaceutical manufacturer Alpen Group, Wana Brands plans to bring its popular line of weed gummies to European consumers as cannabis policy reform begins to take hold across the continent.

Last year, Switzerland’s health authority approved pilot programs for the retail distribution of non-medical cannabis, effectively legalizing recreational marijuana in the Alpine nation. The pilot trials, which are spread out over several cities throughout the country, allow registered adult participants to purchase cannabis products at designated dispensaries. Designed to collect information on the effects of cannabis legalization, the pilot programs are expected to result in the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana nationwide.

Outside of the pilot programs, cannabis with more than 1% THC is classified as an illegal drug in Switzerland, although possession of small amounts of weed was decriminalized in 2012. Low-THC weed, however, is available at most tobacco shops in the country. Those convicted of selling illegal cannabis face a fine and a prison sentence of one to three years. 

Wana Brands was founded in Colorado in 2010 and now has the largest cannabis edibles distribution footprint in North America, with availability in 16 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, as well as nine Canadian provinces and territories. The Alpen Group is a vertically integrated pharmaceutical cannabis company headquartered in Switzerland.

Wana Brands will offer the first U.S. cannabis edible gummy available in Switzerland, with plans to launch in the Swiss market by 2025. Nancy Whiteman, the co-founder and CEO of the company, said that the new partnership with Alpen Group gives it a launching pad for expansion into other European markets.

“Since Wana Brands was established in Colorado’s budding market in 2010, our mission has been to pioneer our presence in emerging markets. This vision has now taken us across the Atlantic to Switzerland, marking 14 years of expansive growth. Our collaboration with Alpen Group, a company that mirrors our commitment to quality, positions us to become the pioneering American cannabis edibles brand in the European Union’s adult-use market,” Whiteman said in a statement from the company. “Switzerland’s global acclaim for precision and excellence resonates with Wana’s core values. Through our alliance with Alpen, we’re leveraging world-class manufacturing standards.”

Keeping with its tradition of quality and reputation for precision, Switzerland has the most stringent manufacturing regulations in the world. Wana’s line of cannabis gummies will be produced in a more than 30,000 square feet good agriculture and collecting practices (GACP) certified and European Union good manufacturing practices (EU-GMP) licensed facility. The manufacturing process will leverage the Alpen Group’s investments in technology that prioritizes real-time data collection, rigorous testing and adaptable design. Its internal traceability process monitors every step of production, adhering to the strictest levels of compliance and safety.

Wana Brands’ cannabis edibles are already available in different formulations that encompass a range of different cannabinoid ratios, giving consumers the ability to tailor their experience to suit their needs and wants. With the addition of Alpen Group’s innovative medical preparations and dosage formats, Wana plans to bring the consistency and quality the brand is known for in the United States to newly legal cannabis markets in Europe.

“Alpen Group is proud to join forces with the world-renowned cannabis edibles group, Wana Brands. As we embark on a journey of innovation and expansion, we look forward to serving as the epicenter of their global operations. From our headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland, we embrace the opportunity to fuse our strengths, expertise, and vision, propelling both entities toward unparalleled success. Together, we eagerly anticipate the collaborative effort, working hand in hand with Wana Brands’ esteemed team to realize their global aspirations and pioneer the future of the industry,” said Todd Boren, co-founder and CEO of Alpen Group. “From a commercial standpoint, the distinct opportunities presented in possessing a unique arsenal of proprietary formulations provide us with a significant advantage, particularly in emerging markets. We look forward to working closely together on the legal recreational pilot programs underway in Switzerland.”

Wana Brands’ foray into the European market comes as countries across the continent are making strides in cannabis reform. Malta became the first European Union nation to legalize the possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults in 2021, although for-profit sales of weed are not authorized. Instead, adults may join cannabis clubs formed for the cultivation and non-profit distribution of recreational weed to club members.

Lawmakers in Germany, the most populous country in the European Union, voted to legalize cannabis last month. Although the legislation is scaled back from an earlier plan that would have legalized retail cannabis sales, adults aged 18 and older will be permitted to join a cannabis club, similar to Malta’s model.

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