New Zealand


Growing demand - NZ's budding cannabis businesses

Business is booming in Canada and some US states, where cannabis use is no longer an offence. With a binding referendum on whether to legalise for personal use set for 2020, Insight's reporter Teresa Cowie takes a look at what some of the promises, pitfalls and potential for a 'cannabusiness' sector in New Zealand might be.

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Will New Zealand legalize recreational cannabis in 2020?

New Zealand is set to hold a binding referendum on the topic of cannabis legalization during their 2020 general election, writes Calvin Hughes.

The plan to hold the referendum was made official by New Zealand's Justice Minister Andrew Little back in December. Current support for some form of cannabis legalization (i.e. medical and/or recreational) in New Zealand is estimated to sit at 76 percent. Additionally, the move could prove to be quite lucrative for the NZ government. Economists predict that introducing a legal marijuana market would net NZ$240 million ($164.9 million USD) in tax dollars.


New Zealand company Cannasouth secures new licenses to import, cultivate and research medicinal cannabis

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has granted new licenses to allow Waikato medicinal cannabis company Cannasouth to import and cultivate a wide range of cannabis cultivars for research purposes. 

These licenses are in addition to Cannasouth’s other MOH-approved license to possess controlled drugs, which allows the company to extract, process, and manufacture cannabis products for scientific research. One of the new licenses allows Cannasouth to import an approved pharmaceutical ingredient (API) from the Netherlands - dried cannabis flower - for research purposes.


New Zealand to vote on legalizing marijuana in 2020

New Zealand may become the first Asia-Pacific country -- and only the third worldwide -- to legalize marijuana.


Medsafe investigating claims on cannabis billboard

Helius Therapeutics' billboard in Auckland's Anzac Ave advertises cannabis as medicine.

​Medsafe is "looking into" New Zealand's first cannabis advertising campaign.

The Advertising Standards Authority received several complaints this week after a billboard advertising cannabis as medicine was erected on Auckland's Anzac Ave.

Helius Therapeutics, a licensed medicinal cannabis company, launched the billboards following last week's legalisation of medicinal cannabis manufacture, to "rebrand" cannabis.


New Zealand passes laws to make medical marijuana widely available

New Zealand’s government has passed a law that will make medical marijuana widely available for thousands of patients over time, after years of campaigning by chronically ill New Zealanders who say the drug is the only thing that eases their pain.

The legislation will also allow terminally ill patients to begin smoking illegal pot immediately without facing the possibility of prosecution.

The health minister, David Clarke, said thousands of New Zealanders were living with chronic and end-of-life pain and the evidence that marijuana could safely help ease their suffering was sound.


NZers want medicinal cannabis bill to go further

A new survey of more than 2,000 Kiwi adults finds they overwhelmingly want doctors and nurse practitioners to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis as they see fit, on a patient by patient basis, and for it to be treated like any other medicine in New Zealand.

However, Parliament could pass a law as early as this Tuesday (December 11th) which is far less specific.

Paul Manning, Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics, which is making a major investment to research and develop medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand, says it’s not yet clear if there is the time for a majority of MPs, from all or some parties, to implement a more specific regime, rather than leave it to officials to develop the rules.


New Zealand: Iwi industrial hemp production deal could create 150 jobs

A Dannevirke-based iwi plans to go into industrial hemp production in a joint venture which could create more than 150 jobs. After signing a deal with a Chinese processor, the iwi plans include building a processing factory in the Tararua region.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Trust has just announced its partnership with international hemp food production company Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech.

Trust chairman Hayden Hape said the venture was timely given this week's Government regulatory changes allowing the sale of hemp seed as food in New Zealand.

The iwi and Qiaopai Biotech have entered into an agreement with Massey University to begin hemp planting trials in Manawatu, Tararua and Hawke's Bay this month.


Hemp cookies to hit market as NZ legalises sale of seeds as food

Hemp growers and food producers are celebrating news hemp seed can be sold for food.  The Government announced on Tuesday that hemp seed would be treated as just another edible seed.  Hemp is currently grown under permit and is used for fibre and hemp seed oil. 

From Monday, the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 will be amended to allow the sale of hemp seed as food. Hemp flowers and leaves will not be permitted.

West Coast farmers Sarah Gibson and Aaron Silcock grow hemp on their Reefton dairy farm.  This year will be the couple's second season growing hemp to sell for animal food. 


New Zealand City has 10 synthetic cannabis overdoses in 48 hours

Christchurch has seen a spike in people consuming and being harmed by a synthetic drug known as AB.

The New Zealand city of  Christchurch has seen at least 10 synthetic cannabis overdoses in the last two days, according to media reports. Hospital officials report the victims were stricken separately and had come from different areas of the city. Christchurch is New Zealand’s third largest city with a population of about 370,000 and is located on the country’s South Island.


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