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‘Significant moment’ for Rua Bioscience

Medicinal cannabis company Rua Bioscience has named East Coast Cannabis Company (E3C) as its first local cultivation partner.

The E3C team was formally welcomed to Mangaoporo in what Rua Bioscience co-founder, Panapa Ehau, described as a significant moment for the kaupapa-driven enterprise.

“Historically, Rua and E3C have worked separately towards common goals to provide gainful employment and to support the emergence of a new generation of medicinal cannabis growers.

“Involving local landowners in the evolving industry has been a tough nut to crack but this goes some way to prove our ability to include ahikā (those who keep the home fires burning) in our business model,” he said.

E3C Founder Porou Tawhiwhirangi said E3C was formed as a collective of people wanting to apply skills they understood would be critical for the evolving medicinal cannabis industry. However, pathways proved elusive, the journey often grueling.

“Like Rua, we were focused on what we could do for our people. Through EIT's programme, we focused on training, mentoring, and encouraging the passions of our students. Pathways into the industry haven't always been obvious. While some now work for Rua, more often whānau were working with the whenua by growing veges. That's why this arrangement is so important for E3C and our community.

“This partnership is about the future and creating a legitimate and sustainable pathway to employment in the medicinal cannabis industry — taking passionate rangatahi under our wing and growing the workforce that Rua needs,” he said.

This summer, the E3C team will be responsible for Rua's outdoor trial crop; planting, managing and harvesting unique Rua cultivars in Rua's 3,000m2 outdoor growing facility.

Rua Bioscience chief executive Rob Mitchell sees the arrangement as a pivotal moment in the company's journey.

“What happens here in Mangaoporo is at the heart of everything we do. The products we produce, the genetics from this area, the people we journey with — it's these things that will help differentiate Rua Bioscience in a competitive industry.

“Porou, his whānau and broader support network have sacrificed a lot to be part of this industry. It's obvious to me that Porou holds a lot of mana within the local cannabis community. The level of professionalism the entire team brings to Rua is something we're eager to embrace and learn from — it's great to have Porou and E3C as part of the team, and I feel strongly they will play a big part in Rua's long term success.”

GROWING ASPIRATIONS: East Coast Cannabis Company E3C founder Porou Tawhiwhirangi. Picture supplied
GOOD CONDITIONS: Xavier Swann plants medicinal cannabis seedlings in the relative cool of twilight. Picture supplied