New Zealand’s only large scale medicinal cannabis grower has inked a $160 million conditional deal to supply a United States manufacturer.
Under the deal Ruatoria-based Hikurangi Cannabis will send three tonnes of cannabidiol extracts, THC extracts and whole cannabis flowers to Seattle-based cannabis brokerage company Rhizo Sciences next year and up to 12 tonnes by 2021.
Hikurangi has a crop of 5000 plants. Rhizo also has suppliers in Africa, Europe, Australia and North America.
The deal is conditional on Parliament passing Labour’s medicinal cannabis Bill into law.
That will allow Hikurangi to grow and export medicinal cannabis commercially.Hikurangi managing director Manu Caddie said the deal would help the company “press home the importance of allowing medical cannabis to be exported” in its submission to the select committee considering the Bill in March.
He said he was confident the Government would accept a law change to allow cannabis to become a significant export.
New Zealand-grown medicinal cannabis’ potential export value was comparable to kiwifruit and dairy, he said.
“There is huge scope for New Zealand to produce the highest quality medical product in a global sector expected to reach US$60 billion (NZ$82b) within five years.”
Hikurangi operates legally with an industrial hemp licence that allows it to extract cannabinoids from cannabis plants for research and development purposes. It is not allowed to sell a commercial crop.
Hikurangi and Rhizo announced in January their plan to open a facility in New Zealand this year to manufacture THC-free medicinal cannabis products.
Hikurangi plans to launch a $2m crowdfunding campaign in March. It is also seeking another $4m from a single investor.