Topic: Business

$160mil cannabis deal could boost East Coast economy

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

An East Coast company from Ruatoria is set to export medical cannabis worth $160m over three years.  Managing Director Manu Caddie says the global medicinal cannabis market is expected to reach US$60 billion within five years and says they want to make sure that New Zealand has a good piece of that.

The East Coast economy is set to see exponential growth, in the form of medicinal cannabis.

Manu Caddie says, "This first deal of $160 million probably dwarfs anything that the government is looking to put into the region just now so if it comes off and, you know, there's still a few barriers to jump over, we think it's going to be great for the coast, great for the region and other parts of the country should benefit as well."

Hikurangi Cannabis Company, a medical cannabis venture based in Ruatoria, has signed a Letter of Intent with Seattle-based Rhizo Sciences to produce 3,000kg of pharmaceutical grade cannabis products next year, rising to 12,000kg by 2021.   

"Canada are saying they can only supply about 15% for the demand of the product over there so around the world it's just booming.  The science is increasing around medicinal cannabis, people are getting off their opioids and synthetic drugs and there's a lot of support for natural health products and it seems to be effective on a number of health conditions," says Caddie.

The deal is pending a law change that is expected to be passed this year and Caddie hopes exports will also be given the green light. 

"The biggest barrier at this point is the legislation so we're waiting on that to change.  It looks like all of the parties are going to support the change this year to enable the domestic industry to be established, that'll be able to provide affordable access to good quality product for New Zealanders and we're hoping that we're also going to be able to export as well," says Caddie.

Hikurangi Cannabis is looking to raise $6mil to develop the infrastructure in preparation for exports.