One of the country’s best known and most successful social entrepreneurs, sparked a great deal of interest around cannabis when he addressed students at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship in Christchurch recently.
Michael Mayell (Cookie Time, Nutrient Rescue, Drinkable Rivers) spoke to budding Canterbury University business / entrepreneur students about the business opportunities in cannabis and cannabis related industries.
“The prospects related to cannabis and hemp are very exciting,” says Mayell. “From producing a range of products such as textiles, building materiasl, food and personal hygiene products; New Zealand is on the cusp of creating a new top earning, environmentally friendly primary industry,” he says.
Mayell has been a long-time strong advocate for cannabis and hemp, saying it presents an opportunity particularly for dairy farmers, to move from an environmentally challenging industry to one that is “a perfect fit for New Zealand”.
“Planting cannabis and hemp on land that is currently being used for dairying will not only enable farmers to transfer to a successful business but also help repair the land as this is exactly what hemp as a crop does,” he says.
There are still, however, legislative and regulatory barriers that Michael Mayell says need to be urgently addressed to fully realise this burgeoning opportunity
“In order to grow, trade in, or process industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, an individual, body corporate, or partnership needs to be licensed under the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006. The sooner hemp is made the responsibility of MPI and moved away from the Ministry of Health, the better. It is a nonsense to have this opportunity strangled by uninformed regulation,” he says.
Hemp was one of humanity's earliest crops and considered a 'superfood' with more omega 3 than tuna, more protein and iron than steak and more fibre than oats. A hemp crop takes around 130 days to ripen from the seeds to harvest and grows more than 2m tall.