Cannabis referendum a game changing opportunity for industry: NZHIA Press Release


The benefits of voting yes in the upcoming cannabis referendum are far greater than most New Zealanders realise, says the NZ Hemp Industries Association (NZHIA).

“While the referendum has been packaged around the recreational use of cannabis, the implications of legalisation would be a game changer for the hemp industry,” said NZHIA chair Richard Barge. “It could ease restrictions in the production of Industrial hemp (iHemp), healthcare products, foods and fibers, all of which would contribute to a $2billion hemp industry in New Zealand.”

“It’s important that New Zealanders know exactly what they’re voting for in this referendum, and currently they’re being undersold just how significant it could be,” said Mr. Barge. 

Benefits beyond recreational cannabis use include:

  • A recent report that suggested an industrial hemp industry in New Zealand could create 20,000 new jobs and be worth $2billion in just 10 years.
  • Hemp healthcare products would benefit an estimated 400,000 New Zealanders who rely on opiate-based painkillers such as codeine and fentanyl by providing better pain relief with fewer side effects, and fewer addictive qualities.
  • Allowing access to the revenue streams from whole plant utilisation, for hemp-based health products, oils, foods and fibers that would provide a timely economic boost for New Zealand.
  • Creating much-needed business and employment opportunities in New Zealand provinces crying out for jobs.
  • Creating a strong and responsible cannabis industry, across hemp, medicinal cannabis and adult use. 

“iHemp in New Zealand is currently legislated under the Misuse of Drugs Act, despite having little to no THC in it, which is the active substance in cannabis that gets you high. iHemp is not a drug, and by freeing it from these unnecessary restrictions, it can be used to benefit the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders every day,” said Mr. Barge.

“The cannabis plant has proven industrial uses and health benefits far superior to current alternatives. Many of these products have no adverse effects and are environmentally regenerative, but are ignored because of an out-dated dislike for the cannabis plant,” he said.

“Given the current state of our economy and uncertain outlook, the economic impacts of freeing the hemp industry simply cannot be ignored”

The NZHIA encourages New Zealanders to submit a yes vote in this referendum. This vote will make a huge difference to the wider industry, improving access to transformational low-THC hemp and cannabis health products.

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