Mark Corbett is smiling from ear to ear when I ask him how it feels to be gearing up to ship the world’s largest legal cannabis order to date. “It’s a fantastic feeling but it’s taken four years of hard work to prepare for this”. The Cape Town-based CEO of Lesotho’s Highlands Investments cut his teeth earlier this year on a 176 kg order to Europe in April but this is of an entirely different scale: 8,5 tons of cannabis bud and trim. To put this in context, Germany imported a total of about 10 tonnes of dried flower last year.
The Highlands’ Balkan order will be broken down into two parts:
- 2 tonnes in September 2021
- 6,5 tons in November 2021
“The logistics are crazy and the costs are astounding” says Corbett, revealing that the entire shipment will consist of 180 palettes of THC and CBD dried flower and will be loaded into four 40 ft containers. Among the costs to be considered besides security are temperature control and insurance.
The orders will be loaded into specialized trucks in Lesotho and then transported under heavy armed guard across the border to a bonded warehouse at OR Tambo in Johannesburg. There it will be loaded onto a specially chartered flight, paid for by the North Macedonian buyers, and flown to the capital Skopje. Corbett says from there the flower will be processed and re-exported as extract into the European Union.
Highlands recently merged with CBD brand Goodleaf, but is continuing to supply third parties with cannabis. Corbett says Highlands will focus higher up on the value chain in future and is planning on exporting isolates, distillates and oils from the fourth quarter of the year.
“Eight tonnes of flower translates into 800 litres of oil. Believe me, four barrels of product is much easier to move internationally than 40 containers of dried flower”.