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Coast licence a NZ first

“A bunch of farmers from the coast” have become the first New Zealand company to secure a licence to cultivate medicinal cannabis plants.

Issued by the Ministry of Health, the licence enables Hikurangi Cannabis to breed cannabis strains that can eventually be used in medicines.

“It is encouraging to hear officials supporting the need to get New Zealand-made medicines to New Zealanders as quickly as possible,” says company co-founder and interim chief executive Mr Caddie.

“We’re aiming to providing safe and affordable medical cannabis products to New Zealanders next year.”

Hikurangi Cannabis aims to produce two products. One is an oral syringe that is used to squirt the medicinal oil into the mouth.

The other is a topical application for conditions such as arthritis.

The $2.5 million invested by more than 1500 local families and other people laid the foundation for negotiations with institutional investors.

Export orders helped fund the infrastructure for the East Coast company to produce affordable medicines made to Ministry of Health standards, says Mr Caddie.

Hikurangi plans to scale operations to meet demand here and overseas for pharmaceutical grade cannabis products.

The company is in discussions with a US medical cannabis company interested in collaborating with Hikurangi on clinical trials and global brand development.

The East Coast company is also working with one of the largest private medical research organisations in the world.

Researchers are interested in assisting Hikurangi with clinical trials for new cannabis-based medicines.

Global demand for medical cannabis is at an all-time high and Hikurangi has a conditional agreement to supply Seattle-based Rhizo Sciences with $160 million-worth of products over the next three years.

Hikurangi Cannabis has commissioned clinical trials to start next year in Wellington and overseas for the first New Zealand-made cannabis medicines. With significant investment behind it, Hikurangi will begin building high-tech greenhouses and processing facilities near Ruatoria.

The Government’s medicinal cannabis bill is expected to have its second reading next month. Mr Caddie says he expects the legislation to pass its final reading by October.

The East Coast company Mr Caddie described on TV3 News as a “bunch of farmers from the Coast who saw an opportunity”, plans to import more affordable products so they will be available to people who need them sooner.