[31 October/NZ Herald]

The Ministry of Health has informed Helius Therapeutics that its application for a cannabis cultivation license has been successful. The company becomes the third company to be issued a license but the first based in Auckland. The company recently secured $15 million in investment from a small group of investors, led by Kiwi tech billionaire Guy Haddleton. The cofounder of the start-up, Paul Manning, said gaining the license was the result of nearly a year’s work and significant investment and will allow the company to shift a gear and move into the next phase of its development. The company plans to cultivate the plants across two large scale grow sites and a nursery within its Auckland property, based in East Tamaki. The company has secured access to 10,000 sqm hydroponic greenhouse in Kumeu. The cultivation license only allows a recipient to grow the plant for research purposes at the current time, it does not permit product to be produced for sale. Mr Manning acknowledged that his company was a start-up in a start-up industry but says as an early mover they plan to stay ahead of this nascent industry, with plans to produce products for sleep disorders, anxiety, arthritis and chronic pain.