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NZ- Alert: Extension of Medicinal Cannabis Scheme transitional arrangements to 31 March 2021

NZ’s Medical Cannabis Agency writes………The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) set the minimum quality standard that medicinal cannabis products and ingredients must meet before they can be supplied in New Zealand. Importers, manufacturers and suppliers must apply for assessment and provide evidence to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency to verify that their products meet the minimum quality standard.

The Regulations provided for a transitional period to enable medicinal cannabis products that had already been imported into New Zealand as at 1 April 2020, to continue to be supplied without a product assessment until 1 October 2020. For medicinal cannabis products that are controlled drugs, this transitional period only applied if the supplier applied by 1 May 2020 for a medicinal cannabis licence with a supply activity. The transitional provisions were put in place to give manufacturers and importers time to put together the information required for the product assessments and to ensure that patients currently accessing these products were able to continue doing so while products were being assessed.

Suppliers have indicated difficulties in providing evidence to verify that their existing products meet the quality standard, which is further complicated by COVID-19 impacting on the ability of offshore suppliers to undertake the necessary testing to demonstrate compliance.

To ensure that the current supply of medicinal cannabis products is not disrupted, Cabinet has agreed to extend the transitional period to 31 March 2021.

We strongly recommend that suppliers submit their completed product assessment applications to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency by 30 November 2020, to ensure that the assessment of the applications can be completed by the end of the transitional period on 31 March 2021. Access product assessment forms on the Ministry of Health website.

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