New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne, announced that cannabidiol (CBD) will be removed from the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act. Now, the battle of who will be permitted to produce CBD in the country begins.
Industrial hemp is already a legal industry in New Zealand, Stuff.co.nz reports. Legal framework has existed since 2006 for industrial hemp, but farmers are only allowed to sell the hemp seeds.
Dunne said, “Cabinet have accepted my recommendation that on the advice of the expert advisory committee of drugs that CBD can be removed from the mis-use of drugs act because it has potential therapeutic benefits to patients.”
Richard Barge of the New Zealand Hemp Industries Association (NZHIA) said, “There are tremendous opportunities for the farmers and because we are talking about a bulky raw material, all that value-adding should be done as lose to the farm as possible, like processing the fiber or cleaning and drying the seeds which creates opportunities for contractors and people to invest in infrastructure.”
The Associate Health Minister wanted to make a few things clear with the statement: “Famers won’t be growing cannabis for medicinal cannabis in New Zealand, this is about products that are CBD-based that are manufactured being able to be prescribed to New Zealand patients. There is a very limited market at the moment.”
New Zealand seems to be stuck in the same place as some U.S. states, where CBD products are legal but aren’t produced in the state. The Associate Health Minister is also uninformed regarding how large the market for legal CBD products really is in New Zealand.
Once the legislative process is complete and the framework is completed, patients will be prescribed CBD products by their doctors and supplied by pharmacies.
Dunne also said, “There is a big job to do educating the medical profession not just [about] CBD but about the whole issue around cannabis-based medicines, we have been talking with the medical association for some time about providing better medical information to doctors.”
To help educate the country’s doctors, medical student Tori Catherwood is creating an informational documentary devoted to medical marijuana. She said, “There’s no education for doctors from the medical association or from any kind of medical advisory board in New Zealand. It puts doctors in a difficult situation because I don’t think many of them would be prescribing it immediately, because they probably don’t know enough about it. It’s been illegal for so long and it’s been stigmatized and taboo to talk about for so long that opening up this door, it may be a while before people start walking through it.”
Associate Health Minister Dunne was clear that the only discussion he’s interested in is medical marijuana. He has no interest in discussing recreational marijuana – at least not right now.