The NZ Herald reports..

Co-founder Manu Caddie said it was an important milestone for the company, which began researching opportunities in the industry in 2016 as a means to provide new economic opportunities in the region.

“Being able to execute our business and community goal of building a pharmaceuticals industry at Ruatoria is a significant milestone for us all,” Caddie said.

“We are excited to be able to base this new industry in our community, a rural region that desperately needs new economic development opportunities. Without the strong local support believing in this goal it would not have been possible.”

Hikurangi Cannabis is the second organisation to obtain such a licence from the ministry, with the other going to a university for research into medicinal cannabis products.

The licence was for research purposes only, as it was still illegal to produce medicinal cannabis for sale in New Zealand.

Caddie said the Government’s medicinal cannabis bill proposed to change this, with that legislation likely to pass in October.

Earlier this year more than 1500 local families and other New Zealanders invested $2.5m through a crowdfunding campaign, providing the foundation for negotiations with institutional investors keen to bring larger investments to the business.

The company also had a conditional agreement to supply Seattle-based Rhizo Sciences with $160 million worth of products over the next three years.