iHemp Magazine iHemp - Issue 2 - Oct 2018 | Page 9

They were followed by Helen Poulsen (Environmental Sciences Research) and Karen Oldfield (Medical Research Institute of New Zealand) who both emphasised the need for a high level of quality control when dealing with medicinal cannabis. Stephen Tallon (Callaghan Innovation) described the various methods available to extract the cannabinoids from the raw product, using carbon dioxide, or organic solvents. Then Anna Campbell (Abacus Bio) explained breeding and other opportunities for differentiating New Zealand cannabis strains. Simon Rowell (Innovation Liberation Front) presented a strong argument to protect any IP nationally and internationally. Steve Saunders (Plus Group) has a significant blueberry operation in the Bay of Plenty, and suggested in his presentation that establishing a sound business plan is an essential prerequisite to a science based investment in high tech foods. Few could disagree, but another essential component is the need to have a sound science (agronomic) production background, and that does not exist (currently) for cannabis. Miriana Stephens (Whakatu Incorporation) proposed the need for the hemp industry to work effectively with science partners. Anne Barnett (Viclink/Kiwinet) provided some invaluable information on networking opportunities for hemp businesses via these two well established systems. Finally Richard Barge (Summit Chairman and NZHIA Deputy Chair) gave a brief closing overview of the conference. So what was the take home message from the conference? For me the highlight was not the presentations, (though these were fascinating), but the opportunity to network with a group of highly motivated New Zealanders. Collectively we learnt that few plants are as versatile as hemp and that New Zealand has unfortunately lost forty years of agronomic progress by having had in place a poorly constructed Misuse of Drugs Act. This legislation has focused on how some cannabis varieties can be a source of a psychoactive drug, rather than on how the plant has potential to create a valuable new crop industry for New Zealand. Dr Mike Nichols (PhD) Retired University Lecturer [email protected] 9