Thousands of people have registered an interest in a share offer aiming to raise up to $2 million for a medical cannabis venture, say the organisers.
Shares will be offered in Waiapu Investments, a vehicle created by Ruatorea-based charitable company Hikurangi Enterprises for ventures in natural health products, with a minimum investment of $50 for 50 shares. The PledgeMe offer could raise up to $2 million.
Nearly 3,000 people had registered an interest in owning shares in Waiapu.
Subject to the granting of a medical cannabis licence, the funds raised by Waiapu would be invested in Hikurangi Cannabis Company to build a pharmaceuticals processing facility in Ruatorea and conduct phase one clinical trials for a medical cannabis product.
Hikurangi Enterprises would be the only shareholder with voting rights.
"Supporting the development of a proven medicine made from cannabis that is grown, processed and licensed in New Zealand is a top priority for the funds raised through this offer," said Waiapu Investments managing director Panapa Ehau.
"It is fantastic to be able to offer people at the flax roots an accessible investment opportunity allowing them to be part of an industry that is booming globally."
Hikurangi Cannabis Company in February said it had signed a letter of intent with Seattle-based Rhizo Sciences to produce 12,000kg of pharmaceutical grade cannabis products during the next four years.
The $160m offer was conditional on Labour's medical marijuana bill passing its second and third reading. It is currently at select committee stage.
Hikurangi Cannabis managing director Manu Caddie at that time said the deal was a lifeline for a region that had few high-value products and where unemployment levels were well above the national average.
"Thanks to the good work of other primary industries, New Zealand has a great reputation internationally for high-quality food and natural health products," Caddie said.
"We have leveraged this reputation with international customers in the EU, Canada and Australia who want to access the highest quality medical cannabis products in the world."
An information memorandum for potential investors was released today and copies would be available in public locations around the region before a local investors roadshow started next week.
Any shares still available after the roadshow would be offered online to the rest of New Zealand at 7pm on Tuesday May 8 via the PledgeMe.Equity platform.
The Hikurangi Group website says the company could not make any guarantees of returns, "it is a high risk investment in a pre-revenue start-up in a highly uncertain regulatory environment and a new industry".
"We have some estimates that suggest it could be 11-16% per annum by Year 3, but it's a high risk investment and people shouldn't invest anything they can't afford to lose," it said.
"We hope people support the crowdfunding offer with what they can afford to contribute because they believe in the kaupapa as much as for any personal gain."