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
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)
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
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