The Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is being established to meet the Government’s commitment to increase access to medicinal cannabis products.
Under the Scheme, medicinal cannabis products will only be available as prescription medicines, prescribed by a medical practitioner. This includes both cannabidiol (CBD) products and products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis.
The Ministry is currently working on the regulations required to support the Scheme. The regulations will include:
Compliance with quality standards will give medical practitioners, as well as consumers and potential export markets, confidence that the medicinal cannabis products contain, for example, consistent amounts of specified ingredients, and have limits on contaminants such as pesticides or mould.
The regulations that set the minimum quality standards will be made by 18 December 2019 and the Scheme will commence in the first quarter of 2020. Medicinal cannabis products will be required to meet the quality standards once the Scheme commences. Medicinal cannabis products which are available now will also be required to meet the quality standards, but there will be a transition period after commencement for such products to be submitted to the Ministry for assessment.
Most medicinal cannabis products available under the Scheme are likely to be ‘unapproved’ products. These products cannot be advertised but the Ministry will make available to prescribers a list of unapproved medicinal cannabis products that meet the quality standards. This list will be available after the Scheme commences, and once products have been assessed.
For more information about the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, see the Ministry of Health website.