High Hopes: Will ‘Cannabusiness’ Turn Around Deprived Communities?
By Sarah Shearman
Having witnessed the fallout from drug and alcohol abuse in his struggling Maori community, Manu Caddie was always “quite anti-cannabis”. But now the youth worker-turned-entrepreneur believes the plant will bring prosperity to indigenous New Zealanders.
A global upshot in cannabis legalization has led to a “green rush” by investors into the fast-growing industry, worth some $12 billion in 2018 – equal to The Bahamas’ annual economic output – data from Euromonitor International shows.
A crop of social entrepreneurs also believe there is room for businesses to do good, as well as profit, from the plant.
“Our community has a history of cannabis overuse probably and people relying on it, and it has caused all sort sorts of issues with prohibition and people going to jail,” Caddie told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from New Zealand.
“The dream is we could have some sort of ethical cannabis company that looks after the workers and looks after the environment,” said Caddie, whose Hikurangi Cannabis start-up won New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis license last year.
Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Agriculture.