New Zealand extends medical cannabis transition to avoid supply disruption

Medical cannabis suppliers in New Zealand have been given an extension on new product-assessment rules that were set to take effect this month.

That development came to light in a Medicinal Cannabis Agency (MCA) communication sent to industry stakeholders after businesses reported difficulties in providing evidence for their existing products.

Regulations that went into effect earlier this year established a minimum quality standard that cannabis products and ingredients must meet before they can reach the market.

Evidence must be provided to the MCA by importers, manufacturers and suppliers to confirm the products meet the new standard, per the regulations.

But a transition period had been established so cannabis products already imported may continue to be supplied without a product assessment until Oct. 1, 2020.

“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,” the MCA wrote to stakeholders in the email, which was viewed by Marijuana Business Daily.

The Cabinet extended the transitional period to March 31, 2021, “to ensure that the current supply of medicinal cannabis products is not disrupted.”

“We strongly recommend that suppliers submit their completed-product assessment applications to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency by Nov. 30, 2020, to ensure that the assessment of the applications can be completed by the end of the transitional period.”

Product assessment forms can be found here.