Canada will make adult use of cannabis legal today (New Zealand time), and Kiwi cannabis firm Zeacann says exports to Canada could lower costs for local patients.
“This is a very exciting time for the medicinal cannabis industry around the world — just today we see Canada legalising the use of cannabis for adults — and we’re in a perfect position in New Zealand to become a global leader of medicinal cannabis manufacturing,” Zeacann co-founder Chris Fowlie says.
Zeacann (formerly known as PharmaCann New Zealand) intends to build cutting-edge hybrid greenhouses in Auckland and a high-tech extraction facility and quality control laboratory. Zeacann will also complete development of an online compliance portal for health practitioners and pharmacists and is supporting research at Auckland University of Technology to develop medicinal cannabis products.
Although the start date for the Government’s medicinal cannabis scheme has been reported as mid-2020, most of the scheme is not dependent on the law change, and licenses for research and for export are permitted under current law.
“Canada needs cannabis, and New Zealand can help,” Fowlie says. “By servicing export markets immediately, we can reach the scale needed to lower costs for local patients.”
"We expect regulations for domestic sales will be progressively phased in from the middle of next year,” says Fowlie. “And this could be brought forward with better resourcing.”
Fowlie says New Zealand cannabis exports could eventually rival the wine or forestry industries. The global market for medicinal cannabis is estimated to reach $30-85 billion by 2025 and together with legal adult sales may top US$150 billion. New Zealand, complete with its clean green image, already has a reputation for being a top-quality grower of the high-value crop.