Marlborough’s fledgling marijuana industry could inject millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs into the region in its first year.
Bosses at Medical cannabis firm Puro have revealed growing the crop could bring in about $60 million dollars in the next two years.
It could also create more than 300 jobs once established, with the first intake set to start in October.
Puro managing director Tim Aldridge says the business will also create other jobs as it gets underway.
“Puro has the capacity to create in excess of 300 jobs once our long-term facilities are up and running, most of these will be at Kaikoura site.
“On top of this are the indirect jobs and construction employment that our infrastructure and development project will create,” he says.
Puro ran a successful crowd-funding campaign last year, raising $4million to establish the medicinal cannabis operation.
The company intends to grow medicinal cannabis in greenhouses in the Waihopai Valley and high-CBD (cannabidiol) hemp in Kekerengu, on the coast between Blenheim and Kaikōura.
“We estimate that over 95 per cent of our total product will contain no THC, 0.3 per cent or lower,” Tim says.
THC is the psychoactive compound of cannabis that is used to create a high.
“Our focus is towards CDB and other medically beneficial cannabinoids.”
The large, outdoor facility in Kaikoura is where most of our new jobs will be created, Tim says.
“Here we will have cultivation technicians that will work under supervision in roles based around plant sowing, harvesting, pruning and pest management.
“There will be supervisors overseeing these roles and specialists to work alongside them – plant pathologists, compost experts etc.
“These roles will be most suited for horticultural trained postgraduate students, or others with similar qualification and commercial experience,” he says.
The Kaikoura processing area will also have technicians for bucking, trimming, milling, and drying of the hemp flower.
“Following the processing, we will have roles for packaging and distribution to third party manufacturers.
“Our outdoor cultivation will come online in September with some workforce required prior to planting.
There will be multiple roles in the laboratory, research and cultivation divisions including cannabis horticulture, process management, compliance and packaging created at the indoor Waihopai glasshouses.
“We are ready to start planning as soon as our commercial cultivation license is received from the Ministry of Health, which is currently pending.”
“This is a multi-million-dollar economic boost for Marlborough and Kaikoura and our success will encourage other local businesses to entire this exciting and profitable market.”
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith is backing the business, saying it brings with it the chance for Marlborough to make its mark on the world stage as a cannabis producer.
“I understand the value in utilising our precious farmland for economic purposes, with the goal to better both the local and national community,” he says.
“…there is now an opportunity to bring a new land-based industry to Marlborough with the potential to cement Marlborough’s place on the world stage as a premium producer of medical cannabis products.”