New Zealand has finalized its regulations for the deployment of medical cannabis in the country. These rules will take effect on April 1, 2020.
The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme will allow the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis products for medical use. The program will include a licensing regime for activities related to medical cannabis (cultivation and processing).
A Medicinal Cannabis Agency, attached to the Ministry of Health, established to oversee the program. The Agency will provide medical cannabis advice to health professionals, industry and consumers.
The program includes restrictions on the safety of growing areas, on tests to be done before products reach the shelves of pharmacies, in particular, to accurately identify the rates of active ingredients.
Advertising for medical cannabis products will not be permissible and a cost recovery program will be in place to cover the costs of administering the license and the regulatory aspect of the program.
At the prescription level, all doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis without mandatory specialist supervision. The products will be available in pharmacies or directly to doctors. They may not be allowable in for smoking, and edibles, concentrates, and topicals may not be prescribed.
Finally , research on medical cannabis is already underway in New Zealand. 20 companies have licenses to grow cannabis for research purposes and 238 other companies may grow industrial hemp. These companies will be able to apply for licenses to grow or process medical cannabis. The first national cannabis production could, therefore, arrive by the end of 2020. In the meantime, the country was importing cannabis.
Future cannabis producers will be in fact , able to register seeds and plants from the black market. Fifty seeds and 20 plants will be allowable per declaration, and a person may make more than one declaration for each variety.
The legalization of medical cannabis decision was at the end of 2018, after a year of heated debate. In parallel with the deployment of medical cannabis, New Zealand is also trying to legalize adult cannabis. The proposal will be put to the vote of New Zealand citizens in November 2020.