Marlborough-based grower Puro has started planting 10 hectares of organically grown medicinal cannabis, New Zealand’s largest crop.
Puro is planting more than 60,000 low-THC cannabis seeds and seedlings at its Kekerengu farm on the Kaikoura Coast.
Puro director Tim Aldridge said: “This is a massive milestone for our fledgling industry. We’re growing medical cannabis on a scale never before seen in New Zealand.
The crop is being grown under organic protocols, with Puro currently in the process of organic certification.
“Very few companies around the world are growing organically at this scale. The fact we’re able to grow following organic protocols is due to our incredible location and the expertise of our team,” added Aldridge.
“It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point. Over the last year we’ve been busy applying for and obtaining licences to carry out research, import seeds, grow seeds at a nursery, and finally, plant them at Kekerengu.
Fortunately, all the stars seemed to have aligned and we’ve be able to get the licences we need to plant before the heat of summer sets in,” he said.
Puro’s cultivation director and global cannabis cultivation expert, Tom Forrest, spent 2019 travelling around the world on a Churchill Fellowship, researching cannabis cultivation. He spent time at 50 commercial growing operations to learn about large-scale cultivation and agronomy, nursery production and processing.
Forrest said Puro is poised to grow some of the world’s best organic cannabis.
“Puro’s farm at Kekerengu has the perfect conditions for cannabis agronomy, with pure air, a California-like climate, high levels of UV and a gentle sea spray to ward off pests. There is potential for this site to produce exceptional standards of premium organic cannabis medicines, with unique cannabinoid potency and terpene profiles,” he said.
The first crop of low-THC medical cannabis will be harvested in March, and then sold to pharmaceutical companies and extraction partners.
Puro’s expansion will continue when it becomes New Zealand’s largest indoor grower of medical cannabis at its Waihopai Valley site some time next year.