New Zealand allows cannabis vaporizers approved by overseas regulators

New Zealand has followed through with its plan to update a rule banning certain cannabis vaporizers ahead of the launch of the country’s medical marijuana program in April.

The move is expected to create a market for compliant vaporizers, since the country’s upcoming regulations prohibit medical cannabis products being sold in a form intended for smoking.

The notice, published last week, enables the import of vaporizers that have been approved as medical devices by an overseas regulator.

The new rule enters into force April 1, the same day that new regulations for the sector kick in.

“Vaporizers that have not been approved as a medical advice by an overseas regulator will continue to be prohibited,” a spokesman for the Health Ministry told Marijuana Business Daily.

MJBizDaily reported exclusively in January that New Zealand was planning to make the move.

The new Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Utensils) Notice 2020 replaces the Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Cannabis Utensils and Methamphetamine Utensils) Notice 2014, which has been revoked.

The latter notice had prohibited cannabis vaporizers, even ones used for medical use.

Though medical devices such as vaporizers may be manufactured in New Zealand, they would have to be approved as medical devices to be compliant, and the government has said such approval is available only overseas.

For the time being, that means the market will rely on imports.

The ministry previously told MJBizDaily that no special import permit will be required, but businesses will need to prove to the New Zealand Customs Service that the devices have been approved by an overseas regulator as a medical device.

The requirement for overseas approval applies to both dry herb and oil vaporizers.

Permissible vaporizers must not be a “cannabis utensil,” according to the new notice.

A cannabis utensil, which has one or more prohibited features, is defined as:

  • A bong.
  • A hash pipe.
  • A roach clip with a pincer or tweezer action.

Canada is among the countries where medical cannabis vaporizers can be listed as Class II medical devices.

Canada’s federal health department had issued six Class II medical device licenses for medical cannabis vaporizers as of mid-January.

Health Canada notes there are two types of certificates for the export of the devices.

The first type is for licensed medical devices; the second is for devices intended for export only and therefore not licensed for sale in Canada.

Read the notice here for a definition of a prohibited feature.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at