Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Time To Harness Economic Potential Of Medicinal Cannabis

By Paul Manning

With the immediate health crisis largely behind us, New Zealanders are now being encouraged to unite for the recovery.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, we’ve heard a lot about resetting the economy and the need to focus on sunrise, not sunset, industries. At the same time, during the Alert Level Four lockdown in April, the Ministry of Health pushed play on New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme.

The regulations are now in effect, enabling local commercial cultivation of cannabis and the manufacturing of THC and CBD products. New Zealand GPs can now apply their professional discretion to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

Despite years of advocacy, and Parliament passing the legislation with wide celebration in 2018, the Scheme’s arrival was met with little fanfare. This was not surprising given the country’s attention was squarely elsewhere, and at any rate getting locally manufactured products into the hands of Kiwi patients is still months away.

However, with debate over New Zealand’s economic future gathering momentum, the success of our newest industry is more important than ever, and of course we’re not alone.

Estimated to reach $55 billion by 2025, medicinal cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

Here in New Zealand, MBIE forecasts a strong market opportunity in the next 10 years. The pharmaceutical cannabis segment is expected to reach $320 million - $50m from within New Zealand and $250m in export sales. While the broader cannabis health product segment could represent a $1 billion market opportunity per annum.

Medicinal cannabis reforms took effect in Australia back in 2016, with its success relatively slow, hindered by higher hurdles for patient access. However, in recent months, their government has awoken to the potential of medicinal cannabis to lift GDP and aid in Australia’s economic recovery.

This month the Federal Government pushed through legislation that would cut red tape and make it easier to export medicinal cannabis and hemp products, with the aim to grow those important new industries.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told Parliament: “For the Australian economy, it means more jobs, more exports, and higher incomes… For Australians, it means stronger regional communities and a more prosperous and productive Australia."

Here in New Zealand, our Government’s commentary on the medicinal cannabis sector has largely been assigned to the Heath Minister and Ministry. That needs to change.

Our country, with its team of five million, has the potential to become a global centre of excellence for medicinal cannabis innovation, but we now need to harness that opportunity with broader oversight required.

The primary motivation to ensure medicinal cannabis is more accessible and affordable for thousands of suffering Kiwi patients remains. However, with growth going backwards and unemployment forecast to increase by 120,000 people, medicinal cannabis needs to also be viewed through an economic lens.

Our newest industry already possesses all the hallmarks needed to contribute to our export-led country’s post Covid-19 recovery.

It involves jobs for horticulturists to PhDs, and everyone in between. It will create jobs in the regions, utilise our famously innovative agribusiness sector, and deliver value-added exports. If we’re looking at exciting sunrise industries for New Zealand, this is certainly one.

With legalised medicinal markets including 30 countries in Europe, and burgeoning opportunities in Asia, the export opportunities for high-quality certified New Zealand Grown cannabis are enormous.

Our Scheme allows exporting from the get-go. What’s more, the country’s quality standards for medicinal cannabis are the highest in the world, helping ensure global confidence in our products from the outset - already enhanced by New Zealand’s clean, green image.

BioTechNZ firmly agrees. It believes New Zealand is strongly placed to leverage its favourable growing conditions, unique genetic varieties, highly regarded research expertise and scientific collaboration, strong clinical trials sector, and respected regulatory regime to create what it calls the ‘Sauvignon Blanc of cannabis’.

Subsequently, BiotechNZ is leading New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit in November at the Aotea Centre. With over 500 delegates set to attend, MedCan 2020 will connect medicine, science, industry, and technology. Helping us all to unlock and maximise an array of opportunities, the two-day event will perfectly cap off what has been a watershed year for medicinal cannabis.

It’s well established that cannabis-based medicines have the extraordinary potential to improve an individual’s quality of life, as well as a nation's overall public health.

Exports too will deliver individually and nationally. Establishing overseas markets will enable a few Kiwi producers to achieve real scale, supported by a network of regional growers. That in turn keeps prices down for local patients, increases employment opportunities, enriches communities, and ultimately boosts New Zealand’s overall wealth.

With the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme now in place, our Government’s next task is to lead the successful enablement of our new industry, and we’ll do the rest.

If indeed we do it well, there’s every reason medicinal cannabis will prove extremely lucrative for our country this century.


www.helius.co.nz

Paul Manning is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics - the country’s largest medicinal cannabis company.

-- ENDS --

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>

ALSO:

XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>

ALSO:

Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: COVID-19 Contributes To 1.6 Percent Fall In March Quarter GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.6 percent in the March 2020 quarter, the largest drop in 29 years, as the initial effects of COVID-19 restrictions impacted on economic activity, Stats NZ said today. This quarter’s GDP results showed a widespread drop ... More>>

ALSO:


Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>

ALSO:

ASB: Investor Confidence Falls To Four-Year Low

As the world grapples with the fallout from the most significant pandemic the world has seen in a century, economic concerns are weighing on investors, dragging investor confidence down to a four-year low in the first quarter of the year. For the three ... More>>

ALSO:

Science Media Centre: Funding For R&D In New Zealand – Expert Reaction

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods has today announced $401.3 million funding for research and development through Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund. The fund includes $150 million for an R&D loan scheme, ... More>>

ALSO:


Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>

ALSO:


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>

ALSO:

Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>


DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>

ALSO:

Potatoes New Zealand: Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan

Potatoes New Zealand has met with Minister Faafoi this week to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support we are undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the ... More>>

ALSO:


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>

ALSO:


Science Media Centre: Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A


Recent attacks on cell phone towers have brought concerns over the rollout of 5G technology into sharp relief.
While scientific research has consistently shown that the technology does not adversely affect human health, public concerns about its impact have spread around the world, fueled in part by growing misinformation online. The SMC asked experts to comment... More>>

ALSO:


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>

ALSO: