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Medicinal cannabis regulations give clarity

The release of the Government’s medicinal cannabis regulations today has given the industry, doctors and patients clarity, confidence and certainty.

“Until now, there has been uncertainty in terms of getting our business prepared for this exciting new industry,” says Cannasouth CEO Mark Lucas.

“There will still be challenges around prescriber education and navigating our way through the regulations, but the Government has given us the certainty to progress investment for commercialising products and developing the industry here.”

Mr Lucas is confident the scheme will be successful and says the next step will be establishing a comprehensive education programme for doctors. “While the new rules set important standards for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products, educating the professionals prescribing these medicines is crucial,” he says.

“We need to make sure our doctors have access to clinical data so they can make informed decisions. It is going to take time for GPs to feel confident about writing prescriptions for their patients. Cannasouth will be working with Government and industry partners to ensure doctors have the information and support they need.”

Mr Lucas is pleased to see that GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) will be the quality standard adopted for the sale of medicinal cannabis in the New Zealand market. “Setting high standards for quality eliminates the risk of sub-standard medicinal products in the New Zealand market. This gives patients and prescribers confidence that the medicines are consistent every time.”

With the recent acquisition of 60% of GMP-accredited Midwest Pharmaceutics NZ Limited, Cannasouth is well placed to deliver on its strategy of “from seed to sale” for medicinal cannabis medicines in New Zealand. The new regulations also allow for the export of medicinal cannabis products from New Zealand, providing they meet stringent quality standards.“The new rules will enable the New Zealand medicinal cannabis industry to leverage off export markets using the globally respected New Zealand cache of clean, green traceability and sustainability, allowing it to compete, innovate and produce lower cost local medicines,” says Mr Lucas.

“This also opens up a real economic opportunity for New Zealand, especially for medicines that have been produced here.” Mr Lucas acknowledges the efforts of the Ministry of Health and says its authentic consultative approach has been refreshing. “In finalising the regulations, the Ministry of Health has genuinely listened to feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders,” he says. “The result is a world class medicinal cannabis scheme with one set of rules for the entire country. I commend them on their efforts.

“The Government is motivated to see this scheme work as much as we are. Patients suffering from a wide range of debilitating medical conditions have been waiting for this moment since the passing of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act 2018 in December last year. “They will now have increased access to safe, more affordable, effective medicinal cannabis products. It really is a significant milestone in our country’s history.”

The Government’s new medicinal cannabis regulations will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

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