Major medicinal cannabis summit postponed due to COVID-19

New Zealand's first medicinal cannabis summit, MedCan 2020, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new date will be announced shortly.



“We have made the difficult decision to postpone the MedCan Summit 2020 this week. However, we remain firmly committed to hosting New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit later this year, as the future of large events and international travel becomes clear,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and MedCan Summit 2020 organiser.

Dr Champion says, given the rapidly evolving circumstances surrounding New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was agreed postponement was the most prudent response.


“This decision was not taken lightly. However, in the interest of the health of our attendees, speakers, sponsors and staff – and due to the travel restrictions announced on Saturday that are affecting a number of our speakers and attendees – postponement is the right decision,” she says.

Scheduled to take place at SkyCity Convention Centre on Wednesday and Thursday this week, MedCan Summit 2020 had reached venue capacity. About 500 delegates were due to attend, with over 30 world-leading and local subject experts set to present.


The summit had been timed to take place ahead of the country’s new Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, which comes into effect on 1 April. Nevertheless, Dr Champion says MedCan will continue supporting New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry and organisers will announce the new dates for the MedCan Summit as soon as it is feasible.


Organisers are targeting a rescheduled date around October 2020, however this is yet to be confirmed. The team are working swiftly to finalise requirements under extraordinary circumstances.


Foundation Sponsor, Helius Therapeutics, has pledged to contribute additional funding to ensure the event goes ahead later this year.


The two-day event aimed to connect medicine, science, industry and technology, with attendees including healthcare professionals, academics, researchers, government officials, business, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, growers, and patients.


Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ, organiser of MedCan 2020

Dr Champion says despite high demand for tickets, attendee registrations remain secure and will be transferred to the summit’s new date, once confirmed. In the meantime, the most up-to-date information on MedCan Summit 2020 will continue to be published on the event’s dedicated website.


Paul Manning, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics which is the summit’s foundation sponsor, says it’s heart-breaking for the team to postpone such a highly anticipated inaugural event, but his biopharmaceuticals company is in no doubt it’s the right and responsible call.


“As foundation sponsor, we believe it’s important for MedCan to proceed as soon as practical, as its role remains vitally important. Helping our industry thrive, fostering relationships and supporting healthcare professionals will be just as relevant in a few months’ time - especially as the world reflects on the importance of health for all humanity,” says Mr Manning.

Paul Manning, Chief Executive Officer of Healthis Therapeutics, Foundation Sponsor of MedCan 2020

MedCan Summit gold sponsor SETEK Therapeutics understands and sympathises with the difficult decision to postpone the inaugural summit.


“The wellbeing of all of the attendees is of upmost importance. SETEK Therapeutics looks forward to the rescheduled summit, supporting healthcare professionals, whilst furthering the education of medicinal cannabis,” said David Pearce, Co-Chief Executive of SETEK Therapeutics.



About MedCan Summit 2020


MedCan Summit 2020 is New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit. The summit will educate and enable the New Zealand medicinal cannabis sector, ensuring that New Zealanders are equipped to maximise the opportunities that medicinal cannabis brings, both improving the quality of life and fuelling economic growth.


The March summit at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre was scheduled to take place before New Zealand’s new medicinal cannabis regulations come into effect on 1 April 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event has been postponed with future dates to be confirmed.


The sold-out MedCan 2020 event is set to be a first for New Zealand

Thirty international and New Zealand subject experts (scientists, medical experts, clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers) will share up to date information, learnings and first-hand insights on this new frontier of care, covering the medicine, science and industry aspects of medicinal cannabis.


The educational sessions at MedCan Summit 2020 have been approved for CME endorsement by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) as well as the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) Enhance Professional Development.


MedCan Summit 2020 has been made possible thanks to foundation sponsor Helius Therapeutics; gold sponsor, SETEK Therapeutics; silver sponsors, AJ Park, Shimadzu and Spectrum Therapeutics; and networking sponsor, Cannasouth.


MedCan Summit 2020 is organised by BioTech New Zealand (BioTechNZ), a membership-funded organisation with the goal of maximising New Zealand’s bioscience and technology capability to create a strong New Zealand bioeconomy.



© Helius Therapeutics 2018