New Zealand is another country taking a lead in full medical cannabis legalization. Until this year, the country had banned the use of all forms of cannabis. The turnaround began in the Spring when New Zealand’s Ministry of Health legalized the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and other illnesses.
Currently, the country is in the process of reviewing and voting on the Misuse of Drugs (Medical Cannabis) Amendment Bill which would allow possession and use of medical cannabis for terminally ill people, establish a regulation-making power to set standards that products manufactured, imported, and supplied under license must meet, and to amend Schedule 2 of the Act so that cannabidoil (CBD) and CBD products no longer classified as controlled drugs. The Bill would also allow qualified patients to cultivate cannabis at home.
In preparation of the bill passing, government officials have started granting licenses for the research and cultivation of cannabis for medical use. The first license was granted to Auckland University of Technology for research into medical cannabis products, and this week, a second license was granted to Hikurangi Cannabis for the cultivation of medical cannabis.
Hikurangi Cannabis is a company located in Ruatoria that has been cultivating industrial hemp to provide CBD for medical research. Now they are authorized to begin growing all varieties of cannabis, including strains with high contents of THC.
“The next couple months we’ll be doing some intensive planting,” said Manu Caddie, CEO of Hikurangi Cannabis Co. Their first crop could be ready for processing and distribution by mid-2019.
It is certainly an exciting time for the country of New Zealand. The Misuse of Drugs (Medical Cannabis) Amendment Bill is scheduled for a second reading in the coming weeks and New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that New Zealand will hold a public referendum prior to or during the 2020 election regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Interested in the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Market?
If you’re interested in joining New Zealand’s medical cannabis market, download our New Zealand Cannabis Information & Overview to learn about the country’s cannabis laws, history, allowable cannabis products, and business licensing information.