New Zealand Ministry Of Health Approves Medical Cannabis Changes
New Zealand’s medical cannabis industry and research efforts are set to receive a boost in the near future after the nation’s Ministry of Health approved several changes. The changes to the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019 aim to “better support economic and research opportunities for the medicinal cannabis industry sector.”
New Zealand’s medical cannabis law is still young compared to many other nations. While the nation’s industry is growing every year, many suffering patients are still going without proper safe access. The following changes should help:
- broadening the types of cannabis plant forms that can be considered ‘starting material’ and ‘cannabis-based ingredient’
- enabling the export of cannabis seed under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
- enabling export of starting material, cannabis-based ingredients and medicinal cannabis products (without needing to meet the minimum quality standard) for the purposes of testing, analysis or research
- enabling import of cannabis-based ingredients and medicinal cannabis products (without needing to meet the minimum quality standard) for the purposes of testing, analysis or research
- removing the requirement for consignments of starting material to meet the minimum quality standard before export
- removing the requirement for cannabis-based ingredients and medicinal cannabis products to meet the minimum quality standard before export if they are manufactured to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and meet the quality requirements of the importing country
- allowing a licence to possess controlled drugs (issued under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977) to authorise non-therapeutic research activities using medicinal cannabis or industrial hemp.
Additionally, “a number of minor technical changes to update and clarify the minimum quality standard” were also made. Examples provided by the Ministry of Health include updated pesticide requirements, broadening the “permitted pharmacopeial tests, excipients and container material requirements,” broadening lab accreditation for certain tests, and reducing duplicative testing.
The new changes are expected to come into effect by the end of the year. While the changes are significant, only time will tell how much they impact New Zealand’s medical cannabis industry and patient base.