The Cannabiz Awards for Australia and New Zealand 2024 launch today, with three new categories and an even more rigorous judging process.

Last year’s event saw ECS Botanics take home three trophies in front of a packed crowd, with the awards ceremony selling out two weeks in advance

This year, judging will take place in two stages. Stage one will see the jurors review the entries in the categories they are judging and select a shortlist. In the second stage, each jury will meet on a video call to discuss the shortlist before independently casting their votes for the winner.

While voting will remain confidential and independent, the approach will be more collaborative, allowing the judges to share knowledge and discuss issues such as regulatory compliance. 

The first entry deadline is March 15, with the shortlist announced on April 18 and the awards presentation taking place at Zinc, Federation Square, Melbourne on May 30.

New categories for this year are Best Use of Technology and Nurse of the Year, while Cultivator/Manufacturer of the Year has been split into two awards.

Cannabiz co-founder Martin Lane said: “We received lots of feedback on the categories, with the overwhelming consensus being that the cultivator and manufacturing awards should be split. 

“There was also a strong feeling that we should reward nurses for the role they play in the patient’s treatment journey and in advocating for plant-based medicine.

“And the Best Use of Technology award recognises that, despite having its roots in the ground, this is an industry that’s always looking for new and innovative ways to use tech to better serve its customers.”  

New to this year’s panel are Somai Pharmaceuticals founder, chairman and CEO Michael Sassano, MCIA chair and Cann Group CEO Peter Koetsier, Invert Inc head of Asia Pacific Ben Quirin and Lambert Initiative deputy academic director Jonathon Arnold.

They join Greens NSW MP Cate Faehrmann, Legalise Cannabis MPs Dr Brian Walker and Rachel Payne and former Reason Party leader Fiona Patten from the world of politics, while healthcare practitioners are represented by Cannabis Clinicians Australia president Dr Joel Wren, GP Dr Matty Moore and ANZ College of Cannabinoid Practitioners president Dr Orit Holtzman.

Joining Sassano from overseas are cannabis entrepreneur Bruce Linton, MJBizDaily international editor Matt Lamers and Prohibition Partners co-founder and CEO Stephen Murphy. Meanwhile, as well as Arnold, academic researchers include Southern Cross University clinical research fellow Dr Janet Schloss and Swinburne University of Technology research fellow Dr Thomas Arkell.

All three of Australia’s medicinal cannabis trade associations are represented, with Koetsier, MCIA executive officer Patty Holmes, AMCA interim chair Emily Rigby and GM Gail Wiseman joining ETAA chair Guy Headley and NZ Medicinal Cannabis Council executive director Sally King on the panel.

Industry consultants include Cassandra Hunt, Rhys Cohen, Clare Barker and Quirin, while rounding out the jury are honahlee co-founder Tom Brown, award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist Helen Kapalos, Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance president Charles Kovess, Astrid Dispensary founder and CEO Lisa Nguyen, Omega Assets director and Health House International founder Paul Mavor, OnTracka founder and product CEO Chad Walkaden, Pharmalytics MD Dr Russell Kinghorn and Klick X founder Kim McKay.

Sponsored by Somai Pharmaceuticals, Pharmalytics, CMI Safe Company, The Entourage Effect, Oz Medicann Group, MediGreen, MCC, Traad and Judo Bank, with support from MCIA, AMCA and ETAA, the awards are split into five categories – companies, individuals, industry leadership, healthcare and product.

Company of the Year
Best Place to Work
Start-up Company of the Year
Medical Science Liaison Team of the Year

Business Leader of the Year
Best Industry Newcomer
Prescribing Healthcare Practitioner of the Year
Nurse of the Year
Patient Advocate of the Year

Industry Leadership
Cannabiz Award for Innovation
Environmental, Social and Governance Award
Best Use of Technology
Cannabiz Award for Industry Advancement
Cannabiz Award for Industry Collaboration

Clinic of the Year
Dispensary/Pharmacy of the Year
Best Education/Engagement Initiative
Best Patient-Focused Initiative

Cultivator of the Year
Manufacturer of the Year
Hemp Product of the Year
Launch of the Year
R&D Project of the Year

Martin Lane - Cannabis Australia - Cannabiz
Cannabiz co-founder Martin Lane

To ensure the integrity of the program, jurors will not vote in categories where they have a direct interest or where there is another conflict. 

Lane said: “The knowledge, experience and authority of our judges was one of the key factors in making the inaugural awards such a success and we are delighted to welcome new colleagues to this year’s panel.

“We pride ourselves on the independence of our editorial coverage and the Cannabiz Awards have the same high standards of integrity. While we are very grateful to our sponsors and judges, their support has no bearing on the final results.”

For more information about the Cannabiz Awards for Australia and New Zealand 2024 and to enter, click here.

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