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Fijian government signs deal with NZ firm to boost medicinal cannabis sector

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Sun, 11 Feb 2024, 3:28PM
Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals cultivation supervisor Louis Whitelaw harvesting medicinal cannabis in the company's Christchurch branch. Photo / George Heard
Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals cultivation supervisor Louis Whitelaw harvesting medicinal cannabis in the company's Christchurch branch. Photo / George Heard

Fijian government signs deal with NZ firm to boost medicinal cannabis sector

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Sun, 11 Feb 2024, 3:28PM

Christchurch-based company Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals (APP), operating as Medical Kiwi, has announced a deal with the Fijian government, marking a significant stride in the development of Fiji’s medicinal cannabis sector.

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said in a statement: “The Ministry of Trade will enter into a three-year MoU with APP to establish a framework for co-operation and collaboration between APP and the government for the development of medicinal cannabis in Fiji.”

“When the medical cannabis industry is established by law and policy in Fiji for cultivation and export, APP would still be required to apply for the appropriate licence and adhere to the rules and regulations stipulated,” Rabuka said.

Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals cultivation supervisor Louis Whitelaw harvesting medicinal cannabis in the company's Christchurch branch. Photo / George Heard
Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals cultivation supervisor Louis Whitelaw harvesting medicinal cannabis in the company's Christchurch branch. Photo / George Heard

Aether Pacific Pharmaceuticals chairman Aldo Miccio told the Herald the planned expansion into Fiji follows an extensive period of consultation with the Fijian government.

“The MoU framework presents the company with a strategic avenue to expand its manufacturing operations in a cost-effective environment, alongside the opportunity to exclusively export Fijian medicinal cannabis to meet growing demand worldwide.”

“The agreement positions the company to expand its global manufacturing footprint in a cost-effective environment to meet growing international demand, while also benefiting from a collaborative approach to new product development in the field of plant-based medicine,” he said.

APP plans to invest a minimum of $65 million within three to five years to build a medicinal cannabis extraction and manufacturing facility in the island nation. Photo / George Heard
APP plans to invest a minimum of $65 million within three to five years to build a medicinal cannabis extraction and manufacturing facility in the island nation. Photo / George Heard

It’s understood APP plans to invest a minimum of $65 million within three to five years to build a medicinal cannabis extraction and manufacturing facility in the island nation.

APP currently has a cannabis cultivation facility in Christchurch, being one of the first companies in New Zealand to be licenced for cannabis cultivation and supply in 2020.

The company announced plans earlier this year to start New Zealand’s first clinical trial testing medicinal cannabis as a substitute for pain and sleep medication in aged care facilities.

APP penned a deal with Waikato-based aged care provider Kingswood Healthcare to undertake the trial.

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