The Ruatoria, New Zealand-based company has just been granted a license from the Ministry of Health to cultivate cannabis for the purpose of medical research. This will be the first time a license of this kind has been granted to a private business in the country. Currently, one of the nation's universities is the only other institution regulated to grow cannabis.
The licensing comes as New Zealand officials work through a bill that would legalize medicinal cannabis. As Hikurangi's interim chief Manu Caddie says, the move could initiate massive economic growth in the area.
"It's certainty going to be significant for our part of our country, in terms of job creation," Manu told News.com.au.
He says the company has generated $2,000,000 NZD ($1,328,500 USD) and received investments from 1500 local families, proving a base of local support for the new business. Hikurangi has also secured a $160,000,000 NZD ($106,280,000 USD) deal with the US -based Rhizo Science and hopes to have products on the market next year.
And while the new laws are still pending, Caddie says New Zealand needs to act fast if they want a slice of this quickly-growing global industry.
"The rest of the world are cottoning on...places like New Zealand will struggle to compete at the commodity level, but if we can quickly build brand and intellectual property around the clinical trials, then there's an opportunity to retain the value long-term and to keep that value in the regions."
It's nice to see that New Zealand is striving towards a more progressive cannabis policy than their Australian neighbors.