Published: 5 September 2019


Medicinal Cannabis Scheme: An update from the Ministry of Health

Prescriber Update 40(3): 64-65
September 2019

Key Messages

  • Medicinal Cannabis regulations will be in place by 18 December 2019 and the Scheme commences in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Professional organisations and specialties are encouraged to continue providing guidance to their members on medicinal cannabis.
  • The Ministry of Health will make available to medical practitioners (doctors) a list of unapproved medicinal cannabis products that meet minimum quality standards.
  • Manufacturers will be encouraged to provide product information with their medicinal cannabis products.
  • Once the regulations have been passed, the Ministry will look at the provision of other guidance material to healthcare professionals.

The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme

The Government has committed to establishing a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme (the Scheme) to improve access to quality medicinal cannabis products. The Scheme will do this through:

  • enabling the commercial cultivation of medicinal cannabis and the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand
  • setting quality standards for medicinal cannabis products so that medical practitioners can prescribe them with more confidence.

A regulatory system, with controls on the cultivation of cannabis and the manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis products, is needed to support the Scheme. The regulations are being developed to establish the regulatory system.

Consultation and next steps

Interest in the proposed Medicinal Cannabis Scheme was heightened with publication of the consultation document in July. Submissions closed on 7 August and, since that time, the Ministry of Health has been analysing the responses as part of the process of developing final proposals for Government consideration. The proposals will go to the Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Group before being presented to the Government. The Medicinal Cannabis regulations will be in place by 18 December 2019, and the Scheme will start in the first quarter of 2020.

Industry, patients and prescribers all need to be confident about medicinal cannabis products. All medicinal cannabis products under the Scheme will need to meet minimum standards of quality.

The Ministry of Health recognises that in the early stages of the Scheme, most medicinal cannabis products are likely to be ‘unapproved’ and will be unable to be advertised. The Ministry will, therefore, make available to doctors a list of unapproved medicinal cannabis products that meet quality standards. Prescribers are reminded that they are responsible for the quality safety and efficacy of unapproved medicines used in their patients.

Clinical data on the use of medicinal cannabis for certain conditions is incomplete but developing.

To assist medical practitioners in their decision to prescribe, the Ministry has suggested manufacturers may wish to provide product information sheets with their products, setting out what is known about them. The Ministry of Health will also provide information to healthcare professionals to assist education and training.

More information

For more information about the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, see the Ministry of Health website.

Hide menus
Show menus
0 1 2 4 5 6 7 9 [ /