New Zealand Government Cannabis News

CBD products

The passing of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act means some products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now prescription medicines only.

Key points

· Products that meet the definition of a CBD product (see below) are prescription medicines

· Ministry of Health approval is not required to prescribe, supply or administer products for medical purposes if they meet the definition of a CBD product

· Authorised prescribers and pharmacies are allowed to import CBD products, as are persons or companies holding a licence to sell medicines by wholesale See Importing of CBD Products into New Zealand for more information.

· Individual patients may import CBD products provided they meet the requirements for importing prescription medicines (see below) but not any other cannabis based products

· A maximum of three months’ supply is allowed on a prescription for CBD products.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a substance found in cannabis that has potential therapeutic value, with little or no psychoactive properties.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is no longer a class B1 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. It is a prescription medicine under the Medicines Act 1981.

As with all prescription medicines, patients must have a prescription from an authorised prescriber to import or use CBD products. If you are interested in using CBD for a medical purpose, please talk to your doctor.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act

Information about the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act, which came into effect in December 2018.

Latest updates:

7 March 2019: The Synthetic Drugs Response Regulatory Impact Statement has been published.

18 December: The Bill became an Act.

17 December: The amended Bill received royal assent.

11 December: The Bill (amended by the Supplementary Order Paper) was read for the third and last time.

4 December 2018: The Government tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to amend the Bill at the Committee of the whole House stage.

29 November 2018: The Bill was read (unchanged) for the second time.

25 July 2018: The Health Committee reported back to the House, having received 1786 written submissions and heard 158 oral submissions. The Committee was unable to reach agreement and therefore could not recommend that the Bill proceed.

30 January 2018: The Bill was read for the first time and referred to the Health Committee.

20 December 2017: The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament – Read the Health Minister's media release – Medicinal cannabis to ease suffering (Beehive website).

The Act means:

· those requiring palliation have an exception and statutory defence to the charge of possession or use of illicit cannabis

· quality standards will be able to be set for medicinal cannabis products and all stages of production

· that the only cannabis compounds that are controlled drugs are tetrahydrocannabinols and related psychoactive substances. Cannabidiol and any substances related to tetrahydrocannabinols that are not psychoactive are not controlled drugs.

The Act is intended to improve access to medicinal cannabis based on principles of fairness, quality and safety, and compassion.

The intent of the Act is to improve access to medicinal cannabis products made to a quality standard.

Timeline of legislation

From 18 December 2018 the following changes are in effect:

· individuals who require palliation have an exception and statutory defense for possessing and using cannabis

· cannabidiol is no longer a controlled drug.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill

Home Parliamentary Business Bills and Laws Bills (proposed laws)

This Bill amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. The Bill will introduce an exception and a statutory defence for terminally ill people to possess and use illicit cannabis and to possess a cannabis utensil; provide a regulation-making power to enable the setting of standards that products manufactured, imported, and supplied under licence must meet; and amend Schedule 2 of the Act so that cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD products are no longer classed as controlled drugs.