Medicinal Cannabis Agency - Importing and exporting

Medicinal cannabis products, except for CBD products, are controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

Medicinal cannabis licence holders also require a controlled drug import or export licence if they intend to:

  • import cannabis seed, starting material, a cannabis-based ingredient or a medicinal cannabis product
  • export cannabis starting material, a cannabis-based ingredient or a medicinal cannabis product.

Licences to import or export a controlled drug

Licences to import or export a controlled drug are issued by Medicines Control. You will need to hold a medicinal cannabis licence before you can apply for an import or export licence for each consignment.

Up to 30 working days is required to process an application for an import or export licence, and the application fee is $194.22 per consignment (including GST).

A separate import or export licence is required for each consignment. However, any given consignment may contain up to four preparations/products.

In the case of exports from New Zealand, a licence to import will need to be provided by the destination country before a licence to export controlled drugs can be issued.

You will need to ensure the consignment is described consistently across all the licences you apply for. Any discrepancies may lead to complications in the import or export process.

For further information or to receive an application form for a licence to import or export a controlled drug, contact Medicines Control at [email protected].

Please refer to the Medsafe website for further information on bringing medicines into New Zealand.

Note: CBD products are prescription medicines only, so controlled drug import and export licences are not required for these products. However, requirements under the Medicines Act 1981 and Medicines Regulations 1984 will apply.

Product assessments

You will need to apply to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency for a product assessment for any medicinal cannabis products (including CBD products), and cannabis-based ingredients you intend to import.

You will need to apply to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency for a product assessment for any medicinal cannabis products (including CBD products), cannabis-based ingredients and starting material you intend to export.

Transitional arrangements

As a transitional arrangement, importers of any medicinal cannabis products that have already been imported into New Zealand as at 1 April 2020 may continue to supply these products without a product assessment until 1 October 2020, provided they had applied by 1 May 2020 for a medicinal cannabis licence that specifies ‘supply’ as an allowed activity.

CBD products already imported into New Zealand as at 1 April 2020 may continue to be supplied without a product assessment until 1 October 2020.

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