An East Coast company has become the second organisation in New Zealand to be granted a licence to cultivate cannabis for research purposes for medicinal cannabis.
Hikurangi Cannabis has obtained the second licence from the Ministry of Health to breed cannabis strains that could eventually be used in medicines.
A university was the first organisation to be granted a licence.
One of company's founders Manu Caddie said they had secured significant investment and would now start building their high tech greenhouses and processing facilities near Ruatoria.
"Being able to execute our business and community goal of building a pharmaceuticals industry at Ruatoria is a significant milestone for us all," he said.
"We are excited to be able to base this new industry in our community, a rural region that desperately needs new economic development opportunities. Without the strong local support believing in this goal it would not have been possible."
Mr Caddie said the business had the potential to double household incomes in the area and provide more employment opportunities.
There was the possibility that some whanau might want to return to the area, because of the new developments, but Mr Caddie said other specialist workers may still have to be recruited from outside the region.
That would trigger the need to build new homes and other infrastructure and services, like restaurants, he said.
There was still a fair bit of research and development on the plants to do before cultivation got properly underway, Mr Caddie said.
The company has commissioned clinical trials to start next year for the first New Zealand made cannabis medicines.
Mr Caddie said they aimed to provide safe and affordable medical cannabis products to New Zealanders late next year.
The company was also in discussions with offshore companies about collaborating on clinical trials.
The government's medicinal cannabis bill is waiting for its second reading in Parliament.
Once passed, regulations will be set around the standards for the manufacture, importation and supply of medicinal cannabis products.