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Another Call On The Taxpayer?

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Medicinal cannabis hui: Māori seeking licences criticise high fees

The stigma around cannabis and the high licensing costs are barriers to getting whānau, hapū and iwi into the industry, say Māori applying for medicinal cannabis licenses.

A hui in Wellington organised by the Ministry of Health ahead of the opening on 1 April of the Medicinal Cannabis Agency – which will grant licenses for manufacturing and distributing the drug – drew about 30 people.

There was a lot of debate over the high licensing fees, with some participants wanting to know if there would be financial support for Māori trying to join the industry.

A cultivation license is upwards of $8000 – which does not include the cost of setting up the operation – but Ministry of Health Māori service improvement manager Eugene Rewi said these fees were as small as they could be.

“My understanding of the fees are there’s no fat involved in the fees, it’s actually about a fee for service because there is auditing requirements … administration that need to be adhered to.”

“Is this a hinderance for some – I think definitely – so maybe whānau need to look at other avenues, whether they join up as a group, or if their strength is in one particular area then maybe they concentrate on that.”

Ngāti Hinerangi trustee Chris Wilson hoped that iwi funding might be able to assist.

“When we were listening to the lady talk about just setting up your facility, already there’s $100,000 cost involved so for Māori that’s already a hinderance and how can we get over the transferring of those sorts of fees.

“I guess if we’re to look at it from an iwi point of view, they would have that type of money, they’re in that space coming through settlements.”

Mr Wilson said one of the hardest parts was convincing his people that cannabis could be used as medicine.

“We need to change the mindsets not only of the people in the community but in our own iwi, hapū and whānau because there are a lot of people in there that still think that cannabis is this bad drug [, a thought which] the American psyche has enforced into us.”

Roxxane, who travelled down from Taranaki, said she was looking to set up a cultivation facility in the next five years.

She comes from a background where her family grew and sold cannabis illegally to survive – but now she wants to do it the right way.

“I will be honest, I am the product and generation that sold cannabis in the black market – for bread, for milk, school uniforms – I think for most of our life actually.”

She agreed there was a stigma attached to cannabis, but saw it as a way to create alternative employment opportunities in the Taranaki rohe.

“The dairy industry is killing us as a people, our land, our water, but we need to have an alternative, we need to create jobs because most of our families, most of our friends rely on the dairy industry to pay our rent.”

A Ministry of Primary Industries Māori agribusiness manager, Blair Jamieson, said there was funding available to Māori land owners.

“We can basically help up until the point when they need capital, so the whole way through that journey, through feasibility, business case – we have a fund that’s available for them to tap into.”

Ministry of Health’s Eugene Rewi said rongoā practioners – those who practice traditional Māori medicine – had also been attending some of the hui.

While cannabis was not traditional Māori medicine, he said rongoā practioners were looking to use it alongside their other plants for the likes of pain relief.

Due to high demand, an additional Māori stakeholder workshop will be held in Gisborne on Tuesday 10 March.

16 COMMENTS

  1. “A Ministry of Primary Industries Māori agribusiness manager, Blair Jamieson, said there was funding available to Māori land owners.”

    It’s ok, us whitey’s always have a stash of $100k under the mattress! // Why do Maori ALWAYS expect the taxpayer to fund them. I guess the answer is because by courtesy of the taxpayer they always receive funding.

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  2. “The dairy industry is killing us as a people, our land, our water,” (how is that so) but we need to have an alternative, (well oil & gas is out) we need to create jobs because most of our families, most of our friends rely on the dairy industry to pay our rent.” (What a senseless statement.)

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  3. There have been enough treaty settlements that your average Māori entrepreneur should be able to either purchase a license outright or apply for a business loan with their business plan and projections to so they can afford a license. Or has that money not been filtered down? What happened to it? Why are they not asking for loans from the people holding that money?

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    • ……”Why are they not asking for loans from the people holding that money?”……

      The tribal elite have recycled the payouts through BMW franchises NZ wide.

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      • Nasska, There must have been a terrible shock go through the Maori elite community when they heard that there was going to be no more SS Comodore’s after 2019 ,horror of horrors ,it’s going to be the Merc,Audi,BMW or porche I guess.
        And because of the added cost there will have to be a government subsidy to be fair ,LOL.

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        • Nah it’s different. They will wait until the cops replace the Holdens with BMW’s. Then the whanau will have chauffeur driven BMW’s to their homes away from home

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  4. While cannabis was not traditional Māori medicine, he said rongoā practioners were looking to use it alongside their other plants for the likes of pain relief.
    Cultural appropriation!

    No mention of paying a copyright royalty fee, even to other indigenous First people.
    Just showing how rip off they are prepared to be, right from the very beginnings.

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    • ……”Just showing how rip off they are prepared”……

      Good point, although had it even crossed their minds to acknowledge the contribution marijuana as medicine has made to previous civilisations they would have been spoiled for choice.

      The Ancients in China, the Netherlands, Egypt, India, Greece & the formerly civilised world now dominated by Islam made extensive use of the drug, usually as an analgesic. It wasn’t until Christians & other assorted control freaks took over the world & developed the profit orientated ‘Big Pharma’ that cannabis was outlawed.

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  5. Apart from the hokey about “The dairy industry is killing us” I agree with everything else said.

    WHY in the WORLD does the govt feel entitled to an $8k licensing fee? Get the fuck out!

    I’ll continue to smoke what I like, when I like, and I’ll continue to source it from my lady who knows what she’s doing, grows lovely strains, and spends the money on her kid’s school uniforms… just like the person quoted in this article. There’s a bit of a theme there. Weed suppliers are “criminal” in name only. The law is an ass. The people using it as a club to beat people with are cunts. If I wanted your opinion on anything I eat, drink or smoke in the privacy of my own home, I’ll ask. You may have noticed I did not ask.

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    • ……”The people using it as a club to beat people with are cunts”…….

      I prefer the descriptives “socially conservative”, “know-all” & “control freak” but you’re onto it!

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    • The Licencing charges appear excessive. This taxpayer is not interested in being taxed to cover someone else getting excused, subsidised or relief from over zealous government Licencing fees.

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    • What happened to Mama Turea saying smoking is killing her people?
      Oh that’s right, it’s always different if THEY can make money out of it.
      Smoke free NZ my arse.

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  6. Now come on people I cant think of a group of people more deserving of these licenses,I have a great many Maori friends and every one of them is a cannabis connoisseur.
    This group of people are exceptionally qualified for the business of cannabis cultivation,no training even necessary.

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    • RevTech, you must be mistaken. Silly you.
      Maori consider pot a bad drug because that has been ingrained through American culture and that is why they need to have their licence fees paid for them.
      I know this because I believe every simpering excuse in this ridiculous article. //

      The big question is what pen-pushing numpty at MPI thinks maori are going to pay anything at all for a licence to grow something they are already growing in abundance, so an idiot with a clipboard can check they’re doing it right.

      Why would anyone be worried about a $100,000 start up cost when they could buy a cheap hydroponics operation from the local gangs who will all be put out of business and cease to exist because legalising cannabis will stop their income.

      And unicorns fart rainbows.

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      • I dont think the gangs will be put out of business if it becomes legal.
        You,on the other hand may be…

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