The Government’s much anticipated Medicinal Cannabis Scheme was due to start today but Covid-19 has resulted in delays to some aspects of the Scheme being ready.
The head of the NZ Medical Cannabis Council, an industry body representing nearly 30 companies around the country, says a short delay was expected but more critical is Government recognition of pharmaceutical cannabis production as an essential sector.
As the new Medicinal Cannabis Scheme comes into effect today, MoH have done a great job of releasing the bulk of the scheme. The industry acknowledges the Ministry is under critical pressure, however all are keen to see the licensing details clarified as soon as possible. Mr Caddie says “the sector needs the ability to keep moving and needs Government support by recognising the necessity of our products and services”.
Manu Caddie is President of the NZMCC and says the industry needs confirmation from the Government that pharmaceutical manufacturers in medicinal cannabis are essential. Most have had to abandon plants and manufacturing facilities while they wait to hear from MBIE.
“It is surprising that sectors like tobacco distributors and nurseries producing grape vines are considered essential industries, so we assume pharmaceutical cannabis producers are too, but we need confirmation before we risk heavy fines” said Mr Caddie. “Given medicinal cannabis has to be produced in high security, sterile pharmaceutical environments, it should be one of the safest workplaces in the country, but we are waiting on MBIE for confirmation.”
“Imported products have been intermittent even before the Covid-19 crisis, so Government support for domestic production is all the more essential. The Scheme is world-leading, we are all very proud of what has been achieved in the regulations, we just need to be able to start production!”