A New Zealand medical cannabis company has a $160 million deal in the pipeline to grow and export medicinal cannabis to a US company.
Under the deal, Ruatoria-based Hikurangi Cannabis Company will produce 3000kg of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products next year, increasing to 12,000kg by 2021 for Seattle-based Rhizo Sciences.
The conditional offer is subject to the law change expected to pass in New Zealand later this year, but represents product worth $160 million New Zealand (US$119 million) being grown on the East Coast over the next four years.
Hikurangi Cannabis managing director Manu Caddie says the deal is a lifeline for the region that has few high-value products and unemployment levels well above the national average.
"We are very excited about the impact of this new industry for our communities on the Coast and for New Zealand as a whole."
In January, Hikurangi and Rhizo announced their plan to open a facility in New Zealand to manufacture THC-free medicinal cannabis products.
"New Zealand has a major opportunity to develop the high CBD hemp industry and become a leading world producer," says Rhizo Sciences co-founder and vice president Dallas McMillan.
"The global demand for legally produced CBD is growing rapidly and producers can't keep up. Hikurangi Cannabis is ideally positioned to deliver a world class clean, green product to supply our customers next year.
"We'll be working closely with regulators to ensure Hikurangi can meet and exceed international benchmarks for quality, safety and security."
Rhizo Sciences is a global cannabis consulting and brokerage company, and has suppliers in Africa, Europe, Australia and North America.