As the Governments moves to put in place regulations to allow local cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand this year, the emerging industry is aiming to educate itself to maximise opportunities the new law will bring.
New Zealand’s first international medicinal cannabis summit, MedCan 2020, is taking place on March 18-19 in Auckland with the purpose to educate and enable the NZ medicinal cannabis sector.
BioTechNZ is organising and hosting the forum over two days, with a programme focusing on medicine, industry, science and technology.
The event is expected to bring together leading experts, scientists, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, industry, investors, policymakers, thought leaders, academics, researchers, government representatives, patients and the general public to share first-hand insights and up-to-date information about the world of medicinal cannabis.
A summit advisory group, including representatives from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Crown entity Callaghan Innovation, has been established.
Speakers will include people from range of backgrounds, from Medical Cannabis Research Australia’s medical scientist Sharlene Mavor to AusCann CEO Ido Kanyon to Tauranga-based Holistic Vets director and veterinarian Liza Schneider, Plant & Food chief scientist Dr Richard Newcomb to TV presenter/editor/mother/overnight influencer Katy Thomas and many more.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr David Clark says the new regulations, which come into effect on April 1, set out the quality and licensing requirements for manufacturing and distributing medicinal cannabis.
“There is huge international interest in the potential of medicinal cannabis. These regulations mean NZ companies will be well placed to manufacture for both the local and international market.
“There is already considerable expertise in this area with 20 companies currently licensed to grow cannabis for research purposes and another 238 growing industrial hemp. It’s expected that at least some of these companies will apply for licences for medicinal cannabis.”
In the Bay of Plenty, medicinal cannabis businesses are positioning themselves for the new regulations to come into effect.
With two Medsafe cultivation licences to grow medicinal cannabis secured, Katikati-based Eqalis Research Ltd is poised to produce a range of plant-based pain relief products for the NZ market.
Working in partnership with Eqalis, Mahana Island Therapies has been established with the aim of turning Matakana Island’s ideal growing conditions into a thriving horticultural industry providing future pathways for local residents.
And Greenfield MC, a licensed medicinal cannabis importer and distributor in Australia, and Canadian licensed cannabis producer Emerald Plants Heath Source have entered a joint venture with Tauranga-based Wepiha Health Co.
This venture’s initial research project will focus on growing certain strains of cannabis under a range of conditions – then they plan to focus research on looking into the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis for health conditions that disproportionally affect Maori, such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, known as T2DM. This group is currently looking for a location – with its sights set on the BOP – for a cultivation operation and research facility.
The Health Minster says the first medicinal cannabis licences are expected to be issued by mid-2020. And while in other countries locally-grown product has taken more than two years to come on the market, it’s expected locally-grown product could be available sooner than this in NZ, partly due to the research underway already here under existing licences.
For more information on the summit, see: www.medcansummit.co.nz