Local newspaper  The Gisbourne Herald reports……

http://gisborneherald.co.nz/focusontheland/3110672-135/sun-rising-on-ruatoria-hemp-industry

THE BUDS are ripening for a Ruatoria hemp industry as production steps up and the potential for it to be New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis capital moves a step closer.

Hikurangi Enterprises last year planted a trial of 5000 plants as a field crop.

This season the Ruatoria charitable company is working with a group of 15 other growers and landowners in the region.

The group is growing another 5000 individual plants but want only one.

The plant they select will be the “mother” plant for what could be a global “hempire” based on a new medicine from hemp.

The company has been in talks this month with the Ministry of Health about medicinal cannabis trials using the low-THC cannabis it has been growing under an industrial hemp license.

The hope is to be granted the first licence to grow cannabis for medicine in New Zealand, subject to meeting strict government requirements for manufacturing medicines based on international standards.

“The MedSafe staff were very helpful, expressed support for what we are trying to do and have given us a clear set of requirements to achieve our goal that we now know is doable,” said business development manager Manu Caddie.

“We are excited with what we have been able to achieve with huge community support.

“We are a group of dreamers trying to establish a pharmaceutical company in an old wool shed and build a new export industry from scratch in Ruatoria. It is a big challenge but we are up for it.”

The first stage of the trial is intended to prove the product’s safety. They will then investigate its effectiveness in treating a range of health conditions.

“It should be effective for conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and some pain conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis,” he said.

“We expect it will be superior in quality and more affordable than any imported products.”