A Puro cultivation manager inspects flowering plants at the newly-operational Puro Research and Breeding facility.
A $32.2 million investment in organic medicinal cannabis could see the emerging sector become as successful as our wine industry.
The Government has partnered with Marlborough-based company Puro Ltd to accelerate the growth of the industry
“Now is the perfect time to grow this high-value industry, as international demand for medicinal cannabis takes off while New Zealand is amid an export boom,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.
“The $32.2 million joint project will further support the country’s economic recovery from covid-19, providing jobs and growth in our regional economies.”
The five-year project will see the Government contribute $13 million through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.
“Matatihi Economic Research has calculated that the project’s potential economic benefit to New Zealand could be up to $236 million by 2032,” he said.
Founded in 2018, Puro harvested its first crop of medical cannabis last year.
The company is NZ’s largest medical cannabis grower, with the only organic certification in Australasia.
It will develop unique cultivars and seed stock, as well as a production handbook that will be available to the wider industry.
“This will fast-track the industry’s establishment in New Zealand and create a comprehensive blueprint that other Kiwi companies can use to follow in Puro’s footsteps,” he said.
O’Connor said the project will create job opportunities in rural communities and boost the local economies in Marlborough and Kāikoura.
There will be professional jobs in research and development, cultivation, business development, construction and facilities management, which could attract more people to the regions.
The global medical cannabis market is valued at $28 billion and is growing at 27% annually.