Cannabis deserves all the bad press it gets.

But medicinal cannabis and its cousin hemp can contribute positively to New Zealand society.

Zeacann is one of a handful of start-up companies on the medical cannabis scene and hopes to raise $20 million from investors through PwC.

It has a three year plan, in a globally competitive market.


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Zeacann wants to build two hybrid greenhouses in Auckland.

All going well, it will cultivate its first crop, create laboratories and work with research partner Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Other medicinal cannabis companies includes Helius Therapeutics, Hikurangi Cannabis Company and Cannasouth.

The medicinal properties of cannabis have been known for centuries.

Finally, legally, New Zealanders will be able to ingest cannabis safely to aid pain relief, for healing and palliative reasons.

In Hawke's Bay, a Dannevirke iwi is looking at investing in hemp production.

Hemp is a slightly less controversial member of the cannabis family, possessing none of the psychoactive qualities of cannabis. In other words, it doesn't get you stoned.


Historically, fibres from this plant have been for manufacturing rope and clothing, but the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Trust is interested in hemp food production.

The trust is looking into the possibility of building a state-of-the-art hemp processing facility and is partnered with Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech, a global leader in hemp food production, mainly hemp cereal. Indeed, hemp is considered a superfood.

Let's hope it goes somewhere - recent regulatory changes now allow the sale of hemp seed as a food in New Zealand.

A hemp planting trial starts in Hawke's Bay in November in conjunction with Qiaopai Biotech. Massey University also has a research and development role with the project.

Cannabis has had mostly a bad rap in this country and rightly so - it's a drug that has contributed to huge social issues.

The notion that it is harmless is laughable.

But there are also good qualities to cannabis, and its cousin hemp, that we have failed to exploit.

Finally we are growing up, this is a drug that owes us a favour - it's time to reap the positive harvest from hemp and cannabis.