A partnership between the Government and Marlborough-based medicinal cannabis grower Puro is aimed at fast tracking New Zealand’s organic medicinal cannabis industry.
The $32.2 million programme will run from 2022 to 2027, with the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) programme contributing $13 million.
Founded in 2018, Puro is Australasia’s largest grower of medicinal cannabis and one of the world’s largest certified organic producers.
Managing director Tim Aldridge says the grant is a gamechanger that will provide New Zealand patients with greater access to locally grown and manufactured medicine and pave the way for international export success.
“Organic medicinal cannabis is a huge and lucrative opportunity for New Zealand, and this grant is a recognition of the potential of Puro and the local industry,” says Tim.
Under the agreement, Puro will develop production systems, support skills and training, explore contract growing and identify pathways to market for industry growth.
“Being one of New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis companies has meant we’ve had to overcome some major challenges – it hasn’t been easy. This programme will see us create an organic production handbook that will be invaluable for Puro and our industry.
“The grant will also support Puro in developing post-harvesting processing technology and build the IP required to produce premium organic cannabis flower to meet increasing domestic and global demand.”
Tim says the funding will enable Puro to develop unique cultivars and seed stock for the New Zealand industry.
“Our cultivation team are researching and developing the strains of medicinal cannabis best suited for New Zealand’s unique climate. The grant will see the acceleration of a large genetic database of cultivars to support the New Zealand industry and differentiate our cannabis products in global markets”.
Over time the programme will create hundreds of jobs, with modelling suggesting that 200 FTE positions will be created over the next 5-10 years. Most of these will be based in the Marlborough and Kaikōura regions and will boost the local economy, however Tim says the benefits will go way beyond that.
“Overall the programme’s potential economic benefit to New Zealand has been calculated at up to $236 million within the next 10 years.”
Tim Aldridge says now is the perfect time to accelerate this high-value industry for New Zealand.
“This investment will help us grow an even brighter future.”