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2021 Prediction - What The Year Holds For Medicinal Cannabis Industry In New Zealand

World vs New Zealand

New Zealand’s nascent Medicinal Cannabis industry in 2021 will hugely be influenced by the comparable legalised world territories. At current global industry predictions, if it keeps growing at 600 to 700 per cent, it is going to be enormous in next four to five years. Another tantalising prospect appeared on the horizon is that President Joe Biden's administration may end the US federal prohibition that will have a cascading effect down under. Further, the move by the UN in December 2020 by removing Cannabis from the list of world’s most dangerous drugs into medicinal drug can be in New Zealand favour. This phytochemical industry expansion opportunity on orphan plant can trigger innovative research to create unique pharmaceutical products with New Zealand’s clean green image.

Regulations and compliance

New Zealand should learn from Australia rather than reinventing the wheel in 2021! Australian product development from their local cultivation has mostly initiated in 2020 which will squeeze the cheap imports from the Americas to Australia and eventually to New Zealand. New Zealand should follow and fast track its learning from the Australian market unique product development and clinical trials models, as we always did in our NZ history! Australia took four years to reach at this point due to its over cautious regulatory approaches. For example, the declaration of illicit seed and cannabis plants under New Zealand regulations gave Kiwi researchers access to vital local genetic material and this luxury is not even thought of by the Australian regulators yet! New Zealand in 2021 will further evaluate and understand its local genetics for therapeutic potential and ready to create elusive scientifically proven “unicorn” strains wanted by medical doctors and needed by patients.

Medag- Medical will lead to agriculture

In 2021, another thing New Zealand industry and stakeholders will be sinking in, is the end goal of medicinal cannabis is health related, so we see healthcare focused industry, not horticultural or blind breeding focused. The plant researchers with clinical research collaborations in 2021 should not be groping in the dark. This mismatch between plant and patient experts is the primary reason why most companies involved in the New Zealand market have been focused on importing generic products grown abroad. This short-term revenue model will start changing in favour of unique reliable products based on scientifically recorded strain potential to cure a condition.

Revenue Streams recalibration, R&D leads to product development

Another change this year will be advent of astute investors in medicinal cannabis industry who can pick a difference between a horse and a donkey in the start-ups! Despite the progressive moves, the stigma attached to this plant is hindering the finance industry's ability to provide services in New Zealand. However, across the ditch Commonwealth Bank and Westpac Australia have taken the first step to provide finance options to Australian medicinal cannabis companies, this need to be replicated here by the New Zealand banks this year.

What can be expected from Greenlab in 2021

Greenlab Vision is to position New Zealand at the forefront of medicinal cannabis IP that responds to the need of the cultivators, patients, prescribers and end users.

In 2020, We established a close-knit team of medicinal cannabis agronomists, biotechnologists, pharmaceutical scientist and medical doctors. Greenlab has also procured representative local genetics under the MOH amnesty programme and started initial experimentation to define mother plants for consistency and repeatability in terms of genetics segregation and anecdotal evidence.

In 2021 start Greenlab has signed a contract with Cannvalate Australia for prescribing and conducting clinical trials of white label products, currently being manufactured by The Valens on Greenlab behalf in Canada. This contract will give Greenlab scientists vital information on local strains product potential especially for creating unique products and recombinant medicine IP.

To fast track the work, Greenlab is growing at Lincoln University’s fully controlled environment which is attached to a lab soon to be equipped with HPLC to check cannabis potency and GC-MS for volatile compound profiles. Greenlab has also established the capability of carrying out 22 experiments within a year to understand differing variables to target and optimise pharmaceutically active ingredients. In 2021, subject to the availability of government grants, Greenlab plan to start work on publishing a manual on prominent New Zealand strains by developing package of agronomic practices for licenced commercial growers to produce optimised active pharmaceutical ingredients. This research project will also kick start cannabis breeding programmes in NZ leading to plant varietal rights (PVR) on chemovars (chemically distinct entity in MC).

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