Medicinal cannabis cultivation licence issued to East Coast company for research purposes
An East Coast business can now legally grow cannabis to research medicinal use.
Hikurangi Cannabis Company (Hikurangi Hemp) is one of the first to secure a licence to cultivate medicinal cannabis plants for research purposes, it announced on Saturday.
The Ruatoria business was the first to put up its hand to say it wanted to sell its products to terminally ill patients if the Government legalised it.
Hikurangi would now start building high tech greenhouses and processing facilities near Ruatoria to meet local and global demand, according to a statement.
Hikurangi co-founder and interim chief executive Manu Caddie said the licence meant a lot for the community, and for New Zealand.
“Being able to execute our business and community goal of building a pharmaceuticals industry at Ruatoria is a significant milestone for us all.
“It’s very exciting.”
More than 1500 local families invested $2.5 million into Hikurangi, providing the foundation for negotiations.
“We are excited to be able to base this new industry in our community, a rural region that desperately needs new economic development opportunities.
Caddie said Hikurangi was aiming to provide medical cannabis products made to Ministry of Health standards to New Zealanders next year.
Affordable access to safe and effective products was the top priority, he said.
“We know so many people who suffer every day and are keen to have been access to medicinal cannabis products they can trust and afford.”
They plan to import more affordable products while the Ruatoria facilities are being built to be available to people who need them sooner, he said.
“It’s still hard to believe we will have a pharmaceuticals factory in Ruatoria, but that will now be a reality,” Caddie said.
The Government’s medicinal cannabis bill is being finalised following the Select Committee process and it is likely to have its second reading next month.
Medsafe group manager Chris James confirmed Hikurangi was the second organisation to obtain a licence from the Ministry of Health to cultivate cannabis for research purposes for medicinal cannabis.