Heartbreak Island host - and former Newstalk presenter - Mark Dye has launched a new medicinal cannabis company and says he hopes to make therapeutic products that are more accessible and more affordable for New Zealanders.

Dye is co-founder and chief executive of NUBU Pharmaceuticals which today also announced an exclusive distribution agreement with one of Europe's leading cannabinoid companies, MGC Pharmaceuticals.

Dye said the idea for the business came to him while talking to callers on his Newstalk show in 2016.

"I was shocked to hear about the difficulties some New Zealanders had to go through to access medicinal cannabis," he said.


With business partner Will Douglas, Dye has spent the past two years working with international experts to design a state-of the art growing and manufacturing facility.

While he has remained focused on his TV projects the nature of the business meant there had been plenty of downtime to work on plans for NUBU, he said.

Dye hopes that the company will eventually be able to become an exporter of locally produced cannabis products into Europe and America.

But for now the focus would be on distribution in the local market, leveraging the deal with MGC, he said.

A bill to broaden scope for medicinal use of cannabis is going through parliamentary process now and expected to pass into law next year.

The Government has also promised a referendum on full legalisation in 2020.

NUBU was entirely focused on the medicinal end of the market, Dye said.

"That really is our story," he said. "It started with me talking to people on ZB who were a) unable to afford the medications that were currently available or b) going off and struggling to buy it on the black market. And Will I and I just thinking there has got to be a better way."


NUBU has been through its initial seed funding stage, which had been over-subscribed, and was now targeting around $10 million in its second round of capital raising.

Dye is launching NUBU at CannaTech, the global cannabis industry conference being held in Sydney today.

With the legalisation of medicinal and recreational cannabis in Canada and the western states of the US, investment in the industry has boomed.

In North America several cannabis companies have listed on the stock market and seen their valuations soaring into the billions.

NUBU joins a growing number of Kiwi medicinal cannabis companies, which also includes Helius Therapeutics, Hikurangi Cannabis Company, Cannasouth and Zeacann.