New Zealand could legalise recreational marijuana in 2020 — and this Aussie cannabis company wants a toke of the booming market to follow
- Sydney-based Greenfield MC will be the first Australian-owned company to be allowed to cultivate cannabis in New Zealand under a new research joint venture with Wepiha Health Co.
- The drug is tightly regulated in New Zealand but Jacinda Ardern’s government has agreed to hold a referendum in November 2020 which could see cannabis legalised for recreational use.
- Were New Zealanders to vote in favour of legalisation, Greenfield says it will be well placed to service the emerging market for cannabis-based wellness products and ‘nutraceuticals’.
Fresh off the heels of its deal with Canadian company EPHS to cultivate cannabis in Australia, Sydney-based Greenfield MC is turning its attention to New Zealand.
The company has announced a joint venture with New Zealand’s Wepiha Health Co. and EPHS to cultivate the drug, making it the first Australian-owned company to do so across the Tasman, it announced in a statement to the media. The project will initially be for research purposes only, in line with current regulations, with a specific focus on developing cannabis treatments for health conditions that disproportionately impact indigenous Maori communities.
But Greenfield could also see itself moving well beyond the research, and even medicinal, market if the legal environment changed — as it very well could.
“If [the 2020 referendum] is passed into legislation then Greenfield MC will be ideally positioned on the ground in NZ to branch out into new areas beyond medicinal cannabis,” a Greenfield spokesperson said in an email.
The spokesperson clarified to Business Insider Australia the primary focus of any foray beyond medicine would be on the “nutraceuticals and wellness products”, which are considered recreational under New Zealand law.
But when asked directly whether Greenfield would consider supplying product to recreational dispensaries if a ‘yes’ vote was successful, the company’s CEO Nicholas Hanna — a lawyer with a lot of experience navigating Australia’s drug regulations — left the door open.
“Greenfield MC is currently focused on the medical and wellness markets, though will adapt as the industry evolves,” Hanna told Business Insider Australia.
If they were ever to go beyond wellness products and push further into the recreational market, it would be somewhat at odds with comments the company’s chief medical officer Sree Appu has previously made.
Dr Appu, a top oncologist, previously told Business Insider Australia that Greenfield’s competitive advantage is its medical clout and clinical credentials.
“There’s a lot of buzz around the enormous potential of the medicinal cannabis market and people from all walks of life are jumping on board … however, we’re talking about medicine here — we’re talking about a product that needs to be prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists,” Appu said.
Asked whether the medical board he chairs would support the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, Appu said Greenfield’s doctors wouldn’t be involved in that side of the business were it to eventuate.
“The role of the medical board is limited to advising on the medical applications of cannabis, including patient access and drug efficacy,” he said.
Greenfield’s directors declined to answer whether it would support legalisation of recreational marijuana in Australia.
But of course, any ambitions the company — or anyone else — may have to supply weed to customers for recreational use in New Zealand is at this stage entirely hypothetical. The ‘yes’ vote would first need to win the referendum.
Seems to me like they are jumping the gun here. More like the Kiwi company has fed them a line (of product) that we are so stupid that we are all going to vote to legalise this shit.