Under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, transitional arrangements for existing medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand will end on 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021, all medicinal cannabis products (imported and manufactured in New Zealand) must be verified as meeting the medicinal cannabis quality standards before they can be supplied in New Zealand.
The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019 came into effect on 1 April 2020. The regulations introduced a licensing regime to enable the domestic cultivation, manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis, and set out the minimum quality standards that medicinal cannabis ingredients and products must meet before they can be supplied in New Zealand.
The regulations provided for a transitional period to enable medicinal cannabis products that had already been imported into New Zealand before 1 April 2020, to continue to be imported and supplied without an assessment against the minimum quality standards until 1 October 2020. The transitional provisions were put in place to ensure that patients currently accessing these products were able to continue doing so while products were being assessed. The transitional period has been extended twice and will end on 30 September 2021.
From 1 October 2021, all medicinal cannabis products imported into or manufactured in New Zealand must be verified as meeting the medicinal cannabis quality standards before they can be imported and supplied.
This applies to cannabidiol (CBD) products as well as medicinal cannabis products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other specified substances. Importers should be aware that any unverified products in stock at 1 October 2021 cannot be re-exported and must be destroyed.
Further information on the medicinal cannabis quality standards can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
More affordable, locally-made medicinal cannabis products that meet New Zealand's quality standards are expected be available with a prescription before Christmas.
New Zealand’s largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, has been issued with the industry’s first GMP certificate and a Licence to Manufacture Medicines. This allows the company to now begin manufacturing cannabis medicines.