Cannabis summit to lock in gains despite referendum result

MedCan Summit Announcement

“Medicinal Cannabis is set to deliver some big economic wins for the country despite the referendum on recreational cannabis now unlikely to pass. Let’s not forget the majority of companies have not been focused on recreational, rather the medicinal market for New Zealanders and exporting overseas,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and MedCan Summit 2020 (MedCan 2020) organiser.

“Let’s now return our focus to medicinal cannabis and all the benefits New Zealand’s most exciting sunrise industry will deliver, including hundreds of millions of extra export dollars in the coming years,” she says.

Dr Champion says regardless of recreational cannabis remaining illegal, New Zealand is well placed to play a key role in the fast-growing global medicinal cannabis industry which is forecast to be worth US$55 billion by 2025.

“New Zealand is poised to develop and deliver high-quality products backed by science, technology and clinical trials. In fact, given all the economic uncertainty with Covid-19, it’s even more critical that New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry thrives. It’s exciting then that we’re all coming together in November to ensure its success,” she says.

Taking place over two days, on 9 and 10 November at Auckland’s Aotea Centre, BioTechNZ is set to host New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit, MedCan 2020. The summit will ensure a greater scientific and medical understanding of cannabis as well as exploring the economic opportunities and navigating the new regulations. MedCan 2020 has limited spaces available, while Auckland remains at Level 1.

Organisers are encouraging more health professionals to attend, especially those who can attend in person.

Dr Champion says given the referendum result, an increasing number of suffering Kiwi patients will rely on doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis products where appropriate. Better informed healthcare professionals as well as the availability of local products from next year will undoubtedly improve patient access and reduce cost barriers.

“The good news is our medicinal cannabis sector is already delivering new businesses, jobs, and growth. We now just need more health professionals to better understand the remarkable benefits of cannabinoid compounds, which the education from MedCan 2020 aims to provide. In the meantime, Kiwi patients need to keep the faith. Improved access and affordability are on their way,” says Dr Zahra Champion.

MedCan 2020 delegates will hear from over 30 world-leading and local subject experts, presenting either in-person or virtually. All speakers are extensively profiled on MedCan 2020’s dedicated website, which also includes the full two-day programme.

For more information on the summit, please email or visit

About MedCan Summit 2020

MedCan Summit 2020 is New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit. The summit will educate and enable the New Zealand medicinal cannabis sector, ensuring that New Zealanders are equipped to maximise the opportunities that medicinal cannabis brings, both improving the quality of life and fuelling economic growth.

The 9 – 10 November summit at Auckland’s Aotea Centre follows New Zealand’s new medicinal cannabis regulations taking effect on 1 April 2020.

Over 30 international and New Zealand subject experts (scientists, medical experts, clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers) will share up to date information, learnings and first-hand insights on this new frontier of care, covering the medicine, science and industry aspects of medicinal cannabis.

The educational sessions at MedCan Summit 2020 have been approved for CME endorsement by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) as well as the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) Enhance Professional Development.

MedCan Summit 2020 has been made possible thanks to foundation sponsor Helius Therapeutics; gold sponsor, SETEK Therapeutics; silver sponsors, AJ Park, Shimadzu; and networking sponsor, Cannasouth.

MedCan Summit 2020 is organised by BioTech New Zealand (BioTechNZ), a not for profit, membership-funded organisation with the goal of maximising New Zealand’s bioscience and technology capability to create a strong New Zealand bioeconomy. BioTechNZ is part of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.


Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director, BioTechNZ – 021 899 732

media release