Regulations to enable a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme were passed on the 18 December 2019. A Medicinal Cannabis Agency will be operational from 1 April 2020 to administer the scheme.
For an overview of the upcoming regulations, including an updated licensing regime and minimum quality standards, see the upcoming regulatory information section.
There has seen increasing interest in the therapeutic properties of cannabis treatment for a range of health conditions. On 18 December 2018, the Government committed to passing regulations to enable a Medicinal Scheme by 18 December 2019. The regulations were passed by Order in Council on 18 December 2019 and will come into effect on 1 April 2020. A Medicinal Cannabis Agency is being established to administer the Scheme.
The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is being established to increase access to medicinal cannabis products, through increasing the supply of products by establishing a licencing regime enabling the cultivating of cannabis in New Zealand and the manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis products made to quality standards. For the Scheme to meet these objectives, it must deliver quality products to patients and be commercially sustainable.
The Scheme covers cannabis products originating from the cannabis plant for medicinal use. It does not cover medicinal cannabis products manufactured from synthetic cannabinoids or cultivating and manufacturing cannabis products for non-medical use.
As part of the Election in 2020, a referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill will take place. This is a separate matter entirely to the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme. Learn more about the referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.