Cannabis in New Zealand

New Zealand Cannabis & Hemp

New Zealand Cannabis

In 2018 New Zealand’s government passed a law that makes medical marijuana legal over the coming years. The law allowed the way for New Zealand companies to manufacture medicinal cannabis for local and international distribution. The New Zealand Ministry of Health has developed this scheme.

Last year there was a formal ‘amnesty’ allowing growers to come forward and work with research and development companies. The legalization could create up to NZ $240 million in tax revenue.

A regulated market will help to control unwanted chemicals and provide consistency. 75% of New Zealanders have already consumed cannabis by the age of 25.

Medical cannabis in New Zealand 

In New Zealand, there is a medical cannabis scheme that will help to regulate the domestic supply of medical cannabis.

The medical cannabis scheme helps to regulate the

  • Licensing
  • Standards of production
  • Medical cannabis agency

Prescriptions with CBD  

CBD is

  • prescribed
  • prescribers and pharmacies are allowed to import CBD products,
  • Individual patients may import CBD products provided they meet the requirements for importing prescription medicines
  • THC must not exceed 2%

Growing and producing medical cannabis in New Zealand 

Right now low THC hemp and cannabis are treated the same under the Misuse of Drugs Act. 

  • The cannabis plant, seeds, and fruit are Class C controlled drugs,
  • cannabis preparations are Class B1 controlled drugs

Licenses for medicinal cannabis growers, suppliers, and producers in New Zealand include 

  • License to cultivate a prohibited plant
  • License to deal in controlled drugs
  • License to manufacture medicines
  • License to import controlled drugs
  • License to export controlled drugs
  • General License under the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006

Just like Australia, New Zealand has one cannabis product approved through their prescribed drug scheme.

Patients in New Zealand have been crying out for years for cannabis to be made readily available in the Country. Medical marijuana is said to change the lives of people in epilepsy, MS and many other illnesses.

People and society have had a stigma behind the plant for a very long time. As information and clinical trials continue, the stigma will gradually diminish. There are stories where many of the patients that are taking cannabis are backing off conventional pharmaceutical prescriptions and even eliminating them.

2 of the well-known cannabinoids 

CBD which is an anti-inflammatory

THC is used for pain relief but has a psychoactive effect.

If THC is used with CBD, the CBD will counteract the THC psychosis effect that it enacts.

So how does medicinal marijuana work?

The endocannabinoid system produces CBD. The endocannabinoid system is the largest receptor system in the human body. We have CB1 and Cb2 receptors.

They help stabilize the body from things such as pain and nausea.

New Zealand Companies 

Several companies are attempting to capitalize on the industry in New Zealand including

  • Hikurangi Cannabis Company- (Rua Biosciences)-first company in New Zealand to get a license to cultivate medicinal cannabis
  • Helius Therapeutics -license for medicinal cannabis plants
  • CannaSouth
  • Setek
  • Nubu

New Zealand Cannabis Legalization 

New Zealand could see a shift in cannabis legislation in 2020. They could end up legalizing recreational cannabis. The referendum that is proposed by Jacinda Ardern’s government could see a shift in policy towards the recreational use of the plant.

It will be interesting to see what the United Nations will do. They have started to approach jurisdictions like The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to inform them that recently passed laws are in breach of international law.

The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says that new legislation and regulation of non-medical cannabis is in breach of international laws. Australian and 200 other countries have agreed to 3 different international conventions agreeing to rules and use of illicit drugs.

Currently, in New Zealand, cannabis is defined as an illegal substance. If you are cultivating and supplying the drug you can face up to 14 years in jail in New Zealand. However, guidance has been issued through a recent amendment to New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs Act. It says that Police should only prosecute when there is a “Public Interest.” Showing these is ease from a regulatory standpoint and a shift in the political system.

Everything could change as of November 2020. That is when the country is set to hold a referendum on the legalization of recreational cannabis.

 The referendum allows

  • for people over the age of 20 to purchase cannabis.
  • It will also outline commercial supply limitations.
  • Regulation on advertising.
  • Limitation on home grow operations
  • A public education program

The outcome of the referendum will not necessarily be enacted. It will take the next parliament to follow through on the outcome. So nothing is set in stone for recreational use in New Zealand.

Hemp Regulation In New Zealand

In 2005 New Zealand legalized the commercial cultivation of hemp. The Ministry of Health provides a permit to cultivate, breed, import and sell products. The license is issued for 1 year for a fee of around NZ $500. Most hemp in New Zealand is grown for the seed to produce oil and food. The laws changed for food in November 2018.

It set out food standards for Australia and New Zealand. The THC percentage must below .35%

Please comment below on updated information related to cannabis or Hemp in New Zealand







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