Medicinal Cannabis Agency - Applying for a licence

The following sections outline some of the issues you will need to work through to obtain a medicinal cannabis licence, provide information to help you complete your application, and set out the application process and fee structure.

On this page:


Before you apply

Because the activities to be covered by a medicinal cannabis licence are linked to a specific location, you will need to have secured a suitable location before you apply for a medicinal cannabis licence. A licence cannot be issued until a location has been secured and suitable facilities built or purchased.

Read Part 4 of the Guideline on the Regulation of Medicinal Cannabis in New Zealand: Guidance for Applicants for a Medicinal Cannabis Licence before you complete your application.

You will also need to have adequate security arrangements in place to minimise the risk of diversion of cannabis or medicinal cannabis products to the illicit market.

Location inspections

As part of the assessment of your medicinal cannabis licence application, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency will carry out an inspection of each location listed in your application to check that adequate security arrangements are in place.

You will be asked to arrange the inspection once a desktop assessment of your application has been completed. Inspections will be arranged at least one month in advance and may be conducted over several days if several locations are involved.

The Medicinal Cannabis Agency cannot issue a licence until all necessary inspections have occurred.

Other licences and fees

You may be required to hold one or more further licences in addition to a medicinal cannabis licence, depending on the nature of your business. You may be required to hold a Licence to Manufacture Medicines issued under the Medicines Act 1981, for example, or a licence to export controlled drugs for individual consignments of starting material or medicinal cannabis products.

Fees for these licences are separate and additional to the fees for a medicinal cannabis licence. For example, an assessment fee is payable for each export consignment of medicinal cannabis product.

See the Medicinal cannabis licence activities section for more information.

Eligibility to apply for a licence

For an individual to be eligible for a medicinal cannabis licence, you:

  • must be 18 years or older and live in New Zealand
  • must be familiar with, and have the expertise and resources to comply with, the obligations imposed by the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019
  • must not have had a licence issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (or any regulations made under that Act) that has been revoked
  • must not have had a conviction under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, or for any other drug-related offence, or a conviction involving dishonesty within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961
  • must not have been convicted of an offence overseas that, if committed in New Zealand, would be an offence under the above legislation.

For an entity (body corporate or partnership) to be eligible for a medicinal cannabis licence:

  • all directors or partners must be 18 years or older
  • the body corporate must be incorporated in New Zealand or the partners must reside in New Zealand
  • one or more directors or partners must have the expertise, and the entity must have the resources, to comply with the obligations imposed by the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019
  • the directors or partners must not have
    • had a licence issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (or any regulations made under that Act) that has been revoked
    • had a conviction under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, or for any other drug-related offence, or a conviction involving dishonesty within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961
    • been convicted of an offence overseas that, if committed in New Zealand, would be an offence under the above legislation.

If the licence applicant is an entity, it must nominate one or more individuals to be a ‘responsible person’ authorised to control the activity or activities for which the licence is sought and to communicate with the Medicinal Cannabis Agency on behalf of the entity.

A responsible person:

  • must be 18 years or older and live in New Zealand
  • must be familiar with, and have the expertise and resources to comply with, the obligations imposed by the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019
  • must not have had a licence issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (or any regulations made under that Act) that has been revoked
  • must not have had a conviction under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, or for any other drug-related offence, or a conviction involving dishonesty within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961
  • must not have been convicted of an offence overseas that, if committed in New Zealand, would be an offence under the above legislation.

Note on disqualifying convictions

You may not need to disclose any convictions covered under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004. See the Ministry of Justice website for more information or seek independent legal advice.

A medicinal cannabis licence may be issued on a discretionary basis even if you are ineligible due to a conviction or the prior revocation of a licence. Further approval is necessary as part of this process. In these cases, the individual, directors or partners, or responsible persons may wish to submit additional information with their application to explain why they should be eligible to be granted a licence or approved as a responsible person.

Making an application

The application form for a medicinal cannabis licence consists of two main parts:

  • Section A requests information about the individual or company, the company officers, and any ‘responsible persons’
  • Sections B to F requests information about the locations covered by the licence and the types of activities that will be conducted at each location.

An application must specify at least one type of activity.

Read Part 4 of the Guideline on the Regulation of Medicinal Cannabis in New Zealand: Guidance for Applicants for a Medicinal Cannabis Licence before you complete your application.

Scan and email the completed application form and supporting documents to [email protected]. Please ensure the form is complete and legible.

Please note that as many Medicinal Cannabis Agency staff are working remotely due to the impact of COVID-19, we are unable to accept hard-copy applications at this time. Application processing timeframes may also be affected. For any queries, in the first instance please contact us via the email address above.

Application fees

The Medicinal Cannabis Agency has set the application fee for a medicinal cannabis licence to reflect the cost of processing applications and carrying out inspections.

All application fees are in New Zealand dollars and inclusive of GST. Fees cannot be refunded if an application is declined.

Fee for initial checking

Upon receipt of your application, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency will issue an invoice for an initial check of the application. The purpose of the check is to ensure your application appears to have been completed in full and is ready for assessment.

The fee for the initial check is $345 including GST and is non-refundable. The initial check will not be carried out until the invoice has been paid.

Licence assessment fee

Once your application has passed the initial check, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency will issue an invoice for an assessment of your licence application.

The total licence fee depends on the activities to be covered by the licence, and the number of locations where those activities will be carried out.

Fee summary

The following table summarises the schedule of fees for medicinal cannabis licence applications and an assessment of the activities to be covered by the licence:

Fee New application
(GST included)
Renewal
(GST included)
Initial check $345.00 $345.00
Medicinal Cannabis Licence fee $2,587.50 $2,587.50
Assessment –
Cultivation activity (per location)
$5,462.50 $3,392.50
Assessment –
Nursery activity (per location)
$747.50 $747.50
Assessment –
Research activity (per location)
No additional fee No additional fee
Assessment –
Possess for Manufacture activity (per location)
$3,105.00 $2,645.00
Assessment –
Supply activity (per location)
$6,382.50 $5,922.50

Example

An applicant wishes to apply for a new licence for ‘cultivation’ and ‘supply’ activities. The cultivation activity will take place at two locations, while the supply activity will take place at one location only. The initial check of the application confirms that all necessary information and documents appear to have been provided.

The applicant must pay a total of $20,240 (including GST):

  • $345.00 for the initial check of the application
  • $2,587.50 for the application assessment fee
  • $10,925.00 for consideration of the cultivation activity ($5,462.50 for each location)
  • $6,382.50 for consideration of the supply activity (one location only).

Appeals

If your application for a medical cannabis licence is declined, you can apply to the Director-General of Health for a review of the decision. You must apply for the review no later than 14 days after the day on which your application was declined.

The review will be carried out in accordance with Regulation 41 of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019.

To lodge an appeal, please contact [email protected] in the first instance.

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