In 2017, the government of New Zealand unveiled legislation to launch a medical cannabis industry and improve access for patients. The Medical Cannabis Scheme is run by the Medical Cannabis Agency and as of April 2020, cannabis-based medicines can be prescribed by a doctor to patients in New Zealand, following the launch of new regulations to allow greater access to medical marijuana.
In October 2020, the country voted against legalizing the sale, use, possession, and production of recreational cannabis.
How to get a medical cannabis prescription in New Zealand:
1. Meet with your doctor about your condition
Patients who would like access to medical cannabis products must meet with their physician or health care specialist who can prescribe cannabis through a pharmacy or direct supply.
2. Physician will submit request
If the presiding healthcare professional decides to prescribe cannabis, this prescription is then sent to a supplying pharmacist in the patient’s area of residence. Patients who would like to receive CBD products must also go through their physician.
At the moment, the only approved cannabis medicine in New Zealand is Sativex. To access to THC products that aren’t on the approved list, patients can apply for personal approval from the Ministry of Health. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, cannabis patients can also access dried flower that is intended for vaporization and CBD products in New Zealand.
Qualifying health conditions for medical marijuana in New Zealand:
In New Zealand, physicians can prescribe medical cannabis products for any health condition, as long as they determine that it could help in treatment.
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, once a patient receives a prescription from their doctor, “the doctor or a pharmacy will dispense the product to you.” Patients cannot purchase medicinal cannabis products online or from a third party.