Harvest of the country's biggest commercial medical cannabis crop is set to get underway in the coming weeks, after a "huge 12 months" for the budding sector.
For medicinal cannabis company Puro the harvest will involve picking tens of thousands of cannabis plants at Kēkerengū on the Kaikōura coast.
The company was granted a licence to plant 10 hectares of the crop in November last year, with more than 80,000 seeds and seedling planted in December.
Now, more than 40 workers are expected to be on-site during the peak harvest season, in what managing director Tim Aldridge says is a "significant milestone".
"This large-scale commercial harvest is a moment to celebrate," he said on Friday.
"It's one year from when the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme came into force. It has been a huge 12 months for Puro, from getting the licences, importing seed, completing facilities and building our team. Having harvested product in hand is a really rewarding feeling for all involved."
The Kēkerengū site is following organic protocols, with organic certification currently underway.
Aldridge says once certified, the company will be one of the only large-scale organic medical cannabis growers in the world.
As well as the plants, the Kēkerengū site also houses a purpose-built 1000-square-metre drying facility, the country's largest.
Aldridge says the company uses three different drying methods, depending on the part of the plant being dried.
"We have conveyor belt dryers for the biomass product, but the top flowers will be hang-dried – a traditional, natural drying method which allows us to capture the full aspects of the plant, which is important to create full-spectrum products that include terpenes and flavonoids."
Last year Puro, which was established just over two years ago, also received a licence to grow CBD and THC medical cannabis varieties at its Marlborough research facility.
The company says it will start the compliance process required for export once its products have been dried and tested.