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Zeacann awarded new licence for New Zealand cannabis plants and seeds

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Auckland-based cannabis science startup Zeacann will use the illicit cannabis varieties to teach students in AUT's new medicinal cannabis science paper

Zeacann is the first New Zealand cannabis company to announce it has been awarded a licence to work with illicit local varieties of cannabis.

The formerly-illicit cannabis plants and seeds will also be used to teach students enrolled at Auckland University of Technology's Medicinal Cannabis Science paper, which begins in July.

As part of their ongoing research partnership, Zeacann is assisting AUT's Drug Delivery Research Group, led by Dr Ali Seyfoddin, to deliver the post-graduate course .

Students on the AUT course will help design experiments involving growing, harvesting, extracting, manufacturing and formulation of new therapeutic products that will have meaningful benefit to New Zealanders suffering a variety of debilitating conditions.

Zeacann's stable of Kiwi cannabis includes this resin-covered local cup-winner
Zeacann's stable of Kiwi cannabis will include this resin-covered local cup-winner

The cannabis strains include several winners of local cannabis competitions, as well as strains that are typical of what many Kiwis already consume.

Zeacann's co-founder Chris Fowlie has been in the industry for over 25 years as co-founder of The Hempstore, president of New Zealand NORML, organiser of Auckland's annual J Day festival, and host of multiple cannabis competitions over the years.

The deep and wide networks Chris has developed in the underground grower community give Zeacann unrivalled access to some of the best cannabis grown in New Zealand.

"These strains could be gold nuggets, with traits or characteristics that put local growers on top or help unlock secrets of increased cannabinoid production, pest resistance or tolerance to local weather."

The local strains procured by Zeacann may also be crossed with licensed strains obtained from Amsterdam's T.H.Seeds®. These include classic strains like Bubblegum and MK Ultra, high-CBD strains, and their latest creations like French Cookies, Macaron™ and Stracciatella™.

Zeacann's network of local contract growers could potentially have access to Zeacann's Kiwi strains, the best T.H.Seeds® strains, and any crosses between them.

Additionally, as part of Zeacann's Genetics Assistance Program (GAP), local breeders will receive royalties for any genetics they have developed that are used commercially, including international sales.

Zeacann CEO Chris Fowlie examining illicit Kiwi cannabis in the lab
Zeacann CEO Chris Fowlie examining illicit Kiwi cannabis

Obtaining this licence, and the genetics it gives us access to, is a key part of Zeacann's ambitious plan to become a leader in medicinal cannabis science, said Mr Fowlie.

New Zealand's medicinal cannabis scheme, which took effect on 1 April 2020, allows any doctor to prescribe cannabis-based products that meet New Zealand's quality standard.

"The race is now on to identify genetics, production methods and formulations that are better and more affordable than what is being made overseas."

To help encourage local production and realise the hidden potential of Kiwi cannabis, Zeacann successfully lobbied for a new process for medicinal cannabis licence holders to incorporate illicit varieties of cannabis that are already established in New Zealand.

Zeacann has also been awarded an additional cultivation licence. The new licences take effect immediately.

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