Whakamana, or The New Zealand Institute for Cannabis Education, Research and Development is New Zealand's first museum dedicated to the history of cannabis use and culture.[better source needed] It was first opened in October 2013 in Dunedin as part of a project spearheaded by Abe Gray, former deputy leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP), and Julian Crawford, former ALCP regional spokesperson.
|Type||Science, Social History|
|Director||Abe Gray, Michael Mayell|
Following revenue issues and a failure to find suitable investors, the Christchurch location was closed. As of April 2020, Gray is attempting to establish a new site in central Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. As a political hub which houses New Zealand's parliamentary buildings, Gray considers the location to be more effective in the lead-up to the referendum.
Whakamana was designed to be a national information centre on aspects of the science, history, and legislation surrounding cannabis, with an aim to educate, particularly in the lead up to the 2020 New Zealand cannabis referendum. It operates within New Zealand's laws and does not sell cannabis. However, Whakamana previous stated they would set up a dispensary provided the law allows it to following the referendum.
Under the direction of the 2019 project, Whakamana sought to establish itself as a social club, an authority for cannabis education and events (i.e. lectures by figures in the cannabis industry), and an alcohol-free music venue and eatery producing hemp-based foods. In late 2019, the museum attempted to raise funds via PledgeMe, a crowdfunding platform for New Zealand-based businesses, to help complete restoration of their new site. The campaign failed to raise its minimum target of $1 million NZD, therefore investors were refunded and the campaign was voided.