Aurora Cannabis Inc will buy rival MedReleaf Corp for C$3.2 billion ($2.51 billion) in the biggest deal yet to unify major Canadian pot growers, as the country moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The deal announced Monday is the latest in a wave of mergers in the industry as marijuana producers — emboldened by pot legalizations in Europe and a number of U.S. states — seek to cut costs and gain scale.

Canada’s relaxed regulations, a mature industry and free-flowing capital have offered firms a unique opportunity to advance research without the legal and political risks that bog down growers in the United States and elsewhere.

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John Benny and Nichola Saminather ~ Reuters.com

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