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Medicinal cannabis industry welcomes reduced fees

Medicinal cannabis industry welcomes reduced fees for growers

Licenses for medicinal cannabis cultivation are realistic and some of the lowest in the world, according to aspiring applicants and industry representatives attending Ministry of Health workshops.

Approximately 60 people from the East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty attended a Ministry of Health workshop in Gisborne on yesterday to understand the new Medicinal Cannabis Scheme that comes into effect on 1 April.

Porou Tawhiwhirangi currently works with a partner under a hemp cultivation license and is planning to apply for a Medicinal Cannabis license next month.

“After attending the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme workshop I was able to walk away from there with appreciation of the hard work from all involved in creating this scheme, licencing regulations and the information around it.”

“As a small business starting in this industry the licencing fees look expensive but these costs have dropped dramatically since the proposed fees released last year.”

Mr Tawhiwhirangi has been working with a group of young people near Ruatoria to teach them cannabis cultivation skills but just as importantly how to operate within a highly regulated environment for legal cultivation.

Also attending the workshop was Manu Caddie, President of the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council (NZMCC), an industry association of nearly 30 companies.

“It is great to see the Ministry of Health listened to the sector when we said the license fees were too high. They have to recover the costs of the new scheme from industry, and they have been able to spread those costs across a larger number of expected licenses” said Mr Caddie.

“Compared to other jurisdictions where it can cost at least $100,000 just to apply for a license, New Zealand is very affordable.”

A basic cultivation license will cost around $8,000 regardless of how many plants are produced.

Ministry of Health officials said they expected only a small number of medicine manufacturing licenses to be granted but a large number of cultivators to become suppliers to manufacturing companies.

NZMCC have been providing feedback to the Ministry of Health on technical aspects of the regulations from an industry perspective and have provided support and advice to help members get ready for the new Scheme.

The new medicinal cannabis regulations come into effect on 1 April 2020.

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