Brightwater might have the first South Island facility to cultivate cannabis for medicinal use.
The Ministry of Health has just granted the Nelson-based medicinal research company, Medical Kiwi, the licence that will allow the company to establish a cannabis breeding programme for research and development for medicinal cannabis.
Established in December 2018, they want to take advantage of the global opportunity that medicinal cannabis represents.
Medical Kiwi is now able to move forward on development plans for a state-of-the-art research and development facility in Brightwater.
The 8,000–10,000 m2 facility is set to be started in late 2020. Its design aligns environmental responsibility with commercial objectives, including technology to ensure agricultural and commercial practices are sustainable.
Medical Kiwi’s chairperson Aldo Miccio says the company’s board is thrilled to have been granted the cultivation licence.
“In just eight months, our experienced business and science-based board of directors has developed a clear strategy that is already on track,” says Aldo.
“Prime land for a research and development facility is secured, designs are completed, global networks are established, and investors are lined up,” he says.
“The cultivation licence is another important milestone the company has achieved to date. It is an exciting time.”
“Our facility and the resulting products will have significant economic benefits for the Nelson Tasman region and for New Zealand,” he says. Our research will focus on the development of medicinal cannabis products, with a particular focus on the optimum growth conditions.”
Miccio estimates Medical Kiwi will employ approximately 180 – 245 full time equivalents. He reckons it is huge and forecasts Medical Kiwi employing upwards of 200 people and turning over $100 million in its first year of full production.
Globally, the medicinal cannabis industry is forecast to be worth USD $150 billion by 2025. Aldo has a team on board, including scientist Mike Packard who works for the Cawthron Institute, and says the vision is that everyone who could benefit from medicinal cannabis products can access and afford them. Aldo says that the perception around medicinal cannabis is still in its infancy but will soon change as more evidence comes out for its efficacy. He says that such products will eventually be in supermarkets around the country.
To fulfil their plans to build the facility in Brightwater to start growing cannabis Medical Kiwi needs to raise money, so is putting the call out to potential investors to bring in $7.5 million and eventually a further $15 million. They will then create oils, sprays and creams that Aldo says they will sell for half the price of what current competitors can.
“This is a great thing to bring to Nelson – as a business model and also creating high-margin products that can create high-paying jobs for the region.”
He wants Medical Kiwi to be thought of as the global leader in boutique high-end medicinal cannabis products that leverages off New Zealand’s reputation around the world. “It’s an exciting opportunity because it’s a fantastic product and there is incredible demand. It is the most exciting thing I have done.”