The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme "sets prudent and practical standards for medicinal cannabis products which will enable medical practitioners to prescribe them with confidence,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and Spokesperson for MedCan 2020.
Dr Champion says the Ministry of Health recommendation that patients should be able to access products via prescription from a medical practitioner removes a significant barrier to access.
“GPs can make the call to prescribe quality, affordable medicinal cannabis products and enable equitable health outcomes for all New Zealanders,” she says.
The scheme also confirms a licencing regime for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use, the manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis products and provision for assessment of products against quality standards. The Ministry of Health will be supporting potential applicants through the licence application process by running workshops in February.
“It’s great that a minimum quality standard will be set for products supplied in New Zealand. This will protect patients, with New Zealand set to produce and sell medicinal cannabis products of the highest quality. This scheme is also good news for our biotech sector which will play a critical innovation role in the success of this new sector.”
“Let’s not forget that companies will be working hard to achieve formal product approval as among many things it will enable them to promote their products, so considerable research will continue. What’s more, given the expected demand from New Zealand patients, our doctors will educate themselves, which in turn will ensure better patient access,” she says.
As Spokesperson for MedCan 2020, she says it’s important to note that all industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to fully engage with government officials on the scheme’s regulations and the soon to be established Medicinal Cannabis Agency at New Zealand’s first international medicinal cannabis summit.
MedCan will take place at SkyCity in Auckland on 19 March next year. Timed to coincide with the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme taking effect, the one-day summit will bring together healthcare professionals, academics, researchers, officials, business, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, growers, and patients.
“With the regulations announced, the coming months will be an exciting time for the many and varied stakeholders in New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis sector. MedCan 2020 will not only detail the new scheme, but this landmark summit will harness the huge health benefits and economic opportunities this new industry will bring our country,” says Dr Zahra Champion.
For MedCan 2020’s programme, local and international guest speakers, and to register interest, visit: www.medcansummit.co.nz