iHemp Magazine iHemp - Issue 2 - Oct 2018 | Page 6

iHemp Summit - Wellington 2018 T he 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act demonized the plant species Cannabis for some 40 years, but cannabis came of age in Wellington in July 2018, with a two day inaugural conference on Cannabis for food, fibre and medicine. 6 based Midlands Seed. The official programme commenced on the Thursday morning with the dynamic MC Greg Ward and a Mihi by Wayne Mulligan. Mack McIntosh, (the long time Chair of NZHIA), presented a chronological account of the history of hemp production in Aotearoa, at least since 1975. He was followed by Richard Dr Mike Nichols Barge, the Chair of the iHemp Summit, This was certainly not a meeting for who set the current scene for fibre, hippies interested in ‘weed’. Rather food, and medicine. He carefully avoided the it was a highly informative meeting with sensitive area of recreational cannabis! delegates from scientific research groups, Wayne Mulligan (Fomana) presented a Maori governmental ministerial departments, perspective of where New Zealand science can corporate groups, iwi groups and also several best assist Maori /regional communities. universities. After morning refreshments Damien O’Connor Due to space limitations at the venue (Mac’s Function Centre) the number of delegates was (Ministry of Agriculture, MOA) presented a political viewpoint on hemp. During this limited to 250, but a further 65 interested he advised that he and Stewart Jessamine people logged (Ministry of Health, MOH) were already into the streamed presentations online. discussing a possible transfer of responsibility Audience members submitted questions for for hemp regulations, from MOH to the the Q & A sessions by smart phone. They also Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). communicated feedback to questions posed Andrew Gibbs from Deloitte was up next, by MC Gregg Ward throughout the summit, and he presented an interesting review of via their phone, with the fascinating real time the production of hemp for food, fibre and results presented medicine, and the on screen, on challenges for stage. a new industry. The conference I found this was organised presentation a under the little disturbing, auspices of the as it appeared New Zealand to examine only Hemp Industries the local market, Association which would (NZHIA), by eliminate from Richard Barge consideration (NZHIA Deputy a wide arrange Chairman). of other crops The welcome in New Zealand, reception evening Some of the Summit Organising Committee (left) Richard such as apples, was sponsored Barge, Greg Ward, Huub Kerckhoffs, Eve Kawana-Brown and kiwifruit, wine by Ashburton Hamish Gow. and onions, all of