NZ medicinal cannabis grower Puro has scored an NZD $13 million government grant to go towards “turbocharging” the country’s local industry.
Running from 2022 to 2027, the $32 million initiative – Puro is kicking in the balance – will see the company develop production systems, support skills and training, and investigate contract growing pathways to market for New Zealand’s medical cannabis industry.
“This project will bring significant scale to this new industry, providing domestically sourced medicinal cannabis for Kiwi patients in pain and exciting export opportunities in a global growth market, providing further diversification of land use and export opportunities,” said Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor.
The Government’s contribution is being funded through the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.
Among the elements to be produced is an “organic production handbook” says Puro, which will also develop post-harvesting technology and IP for premium organic cannabis flower. Additionally, Puro will be developing new medicinal cannabis strains.
“Our cultivation team are researching and developing the strains of medicinal cannabis best suited for New Zealand’s unique climate,” said Puro Managing director Tim Aldridge. “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”
It’s a significant chunk of change the NZ Government is putting up, but Minister O’Connor says the project’s potential economic benefit to New Zealand could be up to $236 million by 2032; a pretty good return on investment should that be achieved.
Marlborough-based Puro has been a mover and shaker in the NZ cannabis industry, putting in the very hard yards to achieve what it has to date. In December last year, the company announced it was the first medical cannabis grower in Australasia to be certified organic; gaining the status for its outdoor cultivation site at Kēkerengū, on the Kaikōura Coast. Puro also has indoor growing facilities and a research centre at Waihopai near Blenheim that it is also aiming to gain organic status for.
In January this year, the company joined forces with another NZ cannabis heavyweight, Auckland-based Helius Therapeutics, that will see Puro supply more than 10 tonnes of organic medical cannabis to Helius.