NZ Medical Cannabis Cultivator Gains Organic Status

New Zealand’s Puro says it is the first medical cannabis grower in Australasia to be certified organic for one of its sites.

Puro has been working for two years with certifying authority Biogro – New Zealand’s largest certifier for organic produce and products – on gaining the status for its outdoor cultivation site at Kēkerengū, on the Kaikōura Coast.

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Puro says the site has a microclimate well suited to growing low-THC hemp outdoors; with the coastal location protecting plants from frost damage and a gentle salt spray a natural deterrent for hemp pests and disease. Puro completed its first harvest from the Kēkerengū site in April this year.

“We are the only organic medical cannabis producer in New Zealand or Australia and one of only a handful of commercial medical cannabis operations with an internationally-recognised organic certification like BioGro, so this achievement puts Puro in a very elite group globally,” said Puro Managing Director Tim Aldridge.

The company said it had to break new ground in order to integrate effective and appropriate products and processes that still allowed for organic certification.

As well as Kēkerengū, Puro has indoor growing facilities and a research centre at Waihopai, near Blenheim; for which the company intends to commence the organic certification process in the near future. The Waihopai facilities focus on high-THC cultivars.

“Puro are pioneers in the medical cannabis industry,” said Organic Aotearoa New Zealand Chairman Chris Morrison. “With their smart technologies, internationally-recognised team and organically focused research and development workstreams, Puro is building a depth of knowledge that will benefit the wider horticultural industry, providing opportunities for agricultural diversification and regional economic growth.”

Founded in 2018, Puro has enjoyed significant local support and carried out a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2019. In August 2020, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health granted Puro licences required to import cannabis seed and start commercial cannabis cultivation at its Waihopai and Kēkerengu sites.

Last month, the company announced construction of its breeding facility at Waihopai was complete, which will enable Puro to develop a breeding programme for developing cultivars ideally suited to conditions in New Zealand.

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