Medic­i­nal cannabis coup

East Coast grow­ers at­tract world at­ten­tion.

NZ Grower - - Contents -

BURLY and bearded, Ted Daniels did 15 years in law en­force­ment be­fore join­ing the US Army and be­ing de­ployed to Afghanistan, and then found­ing the United States' Na­tional Cannabis Se­cu­rity Ser­vices.

Now, a New Zealand op­er­a­tion is look­ing for the “Ted Daniels of New Zealand” to help pro­tect their de­cid­edly un­con­ven­tional crop . . . medic­i­nal cannabis.

Hiku­rangi Group busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager, Manu Cad­die, says the col­lec­tive will need high­stan­dard se­cu­rity ser­vices as it bar­rels to­wards tak­ing its small, East Coast hemp-grow­ing op­er­a­tion into the big time.

It will be a first for New Zealand, but con­tract­ing such tar­get se­cu­rity ser­vices is just one of the Kiwi group's ini­tia­tives.

As well as grow­ing its prod­uct and mak­ing sure the science is right, it is also chin-deep in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness deals and cre­at­ing win­dows of op­por­tu­nity for in­vestors.

And all this while en­sur­ing it brings ben­e­fit to the Ru­a­to­ria com­mu­nity in which it is founded.

Just shy of a year af­ter the har­vest of the first Min­istry of Health-sanc­tioned hemp crop in Ru­a­to­ria, Hiku­rangi Cannabis Com­pany in Fe­bru­ary signed a Let­ter Of In­tent with Seat­tle-based Rhizo Sciences to pro­duce 3,000 kilo­grams of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal-grade cannabis prod­ucts next year, ris­ing to 12,000kg by 2021.

The con­di­tional of­fer is sub­ject to the law change ex­pected to pass in New Zealand later this year and Cad­die says Hiku­rangi Group is push­ing hard to see that hap­pen. And it ap­pears to have the ear of the gov­ern­ment... on an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally rainy ear­lyFe­bru­ary day, they hosted a team of sci­en­tists from AgRe­search, along with of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment.

“The Rhizo deal in­cludes CBD (Cannabid­iol) ex­tracts, whole flow­ers and THC (Tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol) ex­tracts, but will only be fi­nalised once New Zealand es­tab­lishes a scheme for the com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of med­i­cal cannabis prod­ucts later this year,” he says.

“Our sub­mis­sion to the se­lect com­mit­tee in March will press home the im­por­tance of al­low­ing med­i­cal cannabis to be ex­ported as this is the key to en­sur­ing we can of­fer af­ford­able lo­cal medicines by fund­ing the in­fra­struc­ture and com­pli­ance costs through whole­sale and fin­ished prod­uct ex­ports.” The Let­ter Of In­tent rep­re­sents some big num­bers . . . US$119 mil­lion (NZ$160m) worth of prod­uct be­ing grown on the East Coast over the next four years.

As man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Hiku­rangi Cannabis – which works in part­ner­ship with the char­i­ta­ble trust-owned Hiku­rangi En­ter­prises - Cad­die says the deal is a life­line for a re­gion that has few high value prod­ucts and un­em­ploy­ment lev­els well above the na­tional av­er­age.

“We are very ex­cited about the im­pact of this new in­dus­try for our com­mu­ni­ties on the Coast and for New Zealand as a whole,” he says.

“Thanks to the good work of other pri­mary in­dus­tries, New Zealand has a great rep­u­ta­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally for high qual­ity food and nat­u­ral health prod­ucts. We have lever­aged this rep­u­ta­tion with in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers in the Euro­pean Union, Canada and Aus­tralia who want to ac­cess the high­est qual­ity med­i­cal cannabis prod­ucts in the world.”

Per­haps no­body knows the mar­ket bet­ter than Rhizo – a global cannabis con­sult­ing and bro­ker­age com­pany – and co-founder/vice-pres­i­dent Dal­las McMil­lan says New Zealand could be a lead­ing pro­ducer in the high-CBD hemp in­dus­try.

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