Some dairy farmers struggling with slumping milk prices may turn to growing cannabis if it is made legal for medical purposes.
The director of GreenCross New Zealand, Billy McKee, said he had spoken to farmers who were looking for alternative farming opportunities.
GreenCross New Zealand is a patient-orientated organisation which supports the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.
“Dairy farmers in New Zealand are really struggling to make money. They are not getting the profit which they used to get, so they are happy to see any other alternative," said Mr McKee.
“Medical cannabis does not need good quality land. The only requirement for the plants to grow is reasonably level surface."
There were also no particular weather conditions needed to grow cannabis, he said.
“The plant doesn’t need plenty of water. It can easily grow in a sunny atmosphere. It in fact improves soil fertility and soil structure and dairy farmers can use their land to grow hemp.”
New Zealand has the perfect land to grow medical cannabis because it grows anywhere, said Mr McKee.
The spokesperson for Horticulture New Zealand, Leigh Catley, agreed New Zealand should grow medical cannabis "if it is legal”.
Retired Massey University lecturer Mike Nichols, who is a member of the International Society for Horticulture Science, recently told NZ Grower magazine about the export opportunities for medical cannabis:.
“The potential to grow medical cannabis in New Zealand at this point in time as an export crop would appear to be excellent,” he said in the magazine.
According to a report by Medical Marijuana, medical cannabis is worth $2.7 billion a year globally and this is set to rise over the next few years.
Medical Marijuana is listed on the New York-based Over The Counter (OTC) exchange which carries small or microcap stocks. The company has a market cap of about $US21 million.
The Federal Parliament of Australia has already legalised the cultivation of medical cannabis and Israel is also working towards taking its cannabis industry global.
Shane Gordon Mark, from Medicinal Cannabis NZ, is also fighting for legalising medical cannabis.
“It is the high time for us to legalise it. Many patients are in need of medical cannabis.”
However, he said there was concern about the black market of medical cannabis as well.
The United Nations 2015 Drug Report said: “Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in New Zealand with a high frequency of cannabis experimentation and use within the general population.”