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Zoe Reece, CEO of Ora Pharm

“The NZ industry has a very strong position in the global space”

While mainly North American companies are in the spotlight, there is a lot going on in the opposite hemisphere as well. This is especially true for New Zealand. The country has a long agricultural heritage, which is globally recognized, considering the value of NZ-grown products. Cannabis, too, is poised to fall under that brand. Ora Pharm is one of the companies capitalizing on the country’s rich agricultural history, as well as knowledge and lessons gathered from the industry in other places. “I joined Curaleaf during their start-up phase,” Zoe Reece, CEO of Ora Pharm, says. “It was one of those all hands on deck situations, but I learned a lot from that experience. I got this wealth of knowledge not just in my department, but throughout the business. My job was to build out new facilities; as part of that, we wanted to impellent a continual improvement process: basically, we wanted to make sure that the next facility we were building would be better than the previous one.”

Zoe Reece, CEO of Ora Pharm

That experience has been useful to Zoe to make Ora Pharm the company it is nowadays. “We have a medical cultivation license as of now, which also includes supply activity. We are also looking to add processing to our facility, which takes a lot of paperwork,” she points out.

Greenhouse cannabis in NZ
Ora Pharm grows its cannabis in a greenhouse. “Generally speaking, the most important thing is to be sure that you are getting the environmental factors right,” Zoe explains. “Doing this indoors is usually easier. Yet, we decided to go for a greenhouse, because it’s more environmentally sustainable: we harness the power of the sun and collect rainwater. In the future, we are also looking to see if we can get energy from different sources, such as solar panels, to help supplement what we are doing.”

On this ground, Ora Pharm has recently signed a supply and distribution agreement with Australian operator CannGea. “The agreement is twofold,” she explains. “We will be supplying CanGea with raw material, and they on their part will distribute our product through their distribution network. All of this makes CannGea an incredible partner.”

A local supply
Such agreements are important for the New Zealand and the Australian cannabis industry. “Making sure that we have a local supply chain is critical,” Zoe continues. “Covid has really highlighted the importance we put on the supply chain. New Zealand and Australian cannabis regulations are very similar, as they were designed to take into account each other’s regulations so as to match them as much as possible. This allows a lot of trade between the two countries.”

With the New Zealand cannabis industry growing at a steady pace, growers like Ora Pharm are looking to capitalize on the value of the country’s agricultural heritage. “The local industry is going through a lot of regulation changes,” Zoe points out. “The NZ industry has a very strong position on the global space, and we are poised to be one of the key players.” That is also why the company is currently undertaking a capital raise. “Our facility is designed to be scaled up, and we are working towards obtaining a processing license, but we are also looking to expand the cultivation capacity to capitalize on the NZ cannabis industry momentum.”

For more information:
Ora Pharm
+64 9 929 8761

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