MedCan medicinal cannabis summit almost sold-out

New Zealand's first medicinal cannabis conference, MedCan 2020, has proven so popular the inaugural event is nearing maximum capacity at Auckland's SkyCity Convention Centre.

“Ten days out and we’re delighted the biggest issue is trying to create more space in our already huge SkyCity Convention Centre. Interest has been phenomenal and we’re fast approaching oversubscription,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and MedCan Summit 2020 organiser.

“We’ve allocated another 50 tickets so more healthcare professionals can attend. We’re conscious with New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme taking effect next month, doctors will face a lot of patient enquiries. We want them to be fully equipped and MedCan provides them with that opportunity,” she says.

Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ

Dr Champion says interest has been unrelenting since BioTechNZ launched New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit six months ago. About 30 world-leading and local subject experts are set to present at the Auckland event from 18 to 19 March.  With so many tickets already sold, organisers are busy working with SkyCity to maximise space given the venue’s capacity is 500 people.

The two-day event aims to connect medicine, science, industry and technology, with Dr Champion confirming a broad array of medicinal cannabis stakeholders will be in attendance.

“Considerable effort has gone into its design to inspire and inform healthcare professionals, academics, researchers, government officials, business, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, growers, and patients. There is a lot of interest from the media, who of course are warmly invited.

“Opportunities to be globally-informed and to collaborate so extensively across a single sector rarely happen at this scale. That’s why so many stakeholders will be there and why we’re now racing around trying to make the venue bigger,” says Dr Zahra Champion.

Helius Therapeutics, foundation sponsor of MedCan 2020

Helius Therapeutics has worked with BioTechNZ from concept to delivery and provided cornerstone funding as MedCan's Foundation Sponsor.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to see how popular MedCan has proven and it's exciting to have so many delegates from across the wider biotech and healthcare industries, as well as patients. The event has been supported by all key government organisations and CRIs, and together this is a testament to the enormous potential that medicinal cannabis offers New Zealand."

Scientists, medical experts, clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers, both international and Kiwis will present up to date information, learnings and first-hand insights on this new frontier of care.

Organised by BioTechNZ, MedCan 2020 will take place at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre on Thursday 19 March, with pre-summit workshops to be held on 18 March.

MedCan 2020 billboard in Ponsonby, Auckland

Event attendees will hear from some of the world's greatest thought leaders in medicinal cannabis research, development, cultivation, manufacturing and prescribing. International experts will be joined by some of the top minds here in New Zealand.

Speakers include:

The event's expert speakers will also be joined by several patient advocates including Katy Thomas whose son, Eddy, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, treated with CBD. Also speaking is Lanai Carter whose son, Lindsay, became the first federally-approved botanical medical cannabis patient in Australia.

MedCan's two-day content is designed around the fact that New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme takes effect from 1 April, with the industry’s many stakeholders hungry for information and collaboration across a broad range of complex areas.

The event will be sold out in the next few days with registrations still coming in fast and a wait list for the workshop day already in place.

The many major organisations involved so far include:

  • Callaghan Innovation

  • Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI)

  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

  • Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

  • New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE)

  • Agritech New Zealand

  • AgResearch

  • Plant & Food Research

  • NZTech Alliance

For more information on the summit, please email or visit

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