Medical marijuana continues to be illegal in New Zealand, but that hasn't stopped Ned and Kura Tibble from investing a portion of their life savings in a local cannabis grower. The two 83-year-olds recently purchased $1000 (AUD) worth of stocks in Hikurangi Enterprises in hopes of generating a nest egg for their 20 great-grandchildren.
They were two of the 550 people from New Zealand's economically struggling East Coast who became stockholders and collectively invested over $1 million in the company that has received a license to produce cannabis for research.
Manu Caddie, managing director of Hikurangi, says many of the people who invested were grandparents hoping to secure some financial stability for their grandchildren. He says the company tried to be very clear that this is a risky investment, but people are happy to hear that their money will go into building a production facility in the region. The new facility could create 100 jobs in its first year.
Ned Tibble says the new source of employment is an important piece of the framework needed to get the economy back on track in this part of New Zealand.
"All we want is for employment for our people. They need it badly. If this is the way to do it, we're all for it," Tibble told Stuff.
If New Zealand eventually legalizes medical marijuana, then those stocks could make not only the Tibbles' grandchildren but also their great-grandchildren comfortable. Hikurangi projects that they could become a billion-dollar industry in the next three years if the New Zealand government allows them to begin exporting their research-grade marijuana.