Although New Zealand resides fairly close to Australia, which is becoming one of the world leaders in cannabis research, the Kiwis have long been a hold out for medical marijuana. However, the trepidation on behalf of New Zealand Government has diminished this week, as doctors in the nation will able to prescribe cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced today that restrictions around CBD in New Zealand will be removed and the changes will take effect in approximately two months.
“I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and I am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make the change,” Dunne said in his media statement.
Doctors in New Zealand will be able to prescribe a three-month supply of CBD, but there are still some serious challenges to be addressed, including rules over importing.
Government-sanctioned medical cannabis in New Zealand made headlines in 2015 when Alex Renton received an exemption to treat his severe epilepsy. Renton passed away that year but the exemption was a clear first step that paved the way for medical cannabis in the nation.
This clear path forward for New Zealand is a win-win for both the nation and the global cannabis reform movement. Patients will be introduced to a powerful and effective new treatment, and another first world country has made a statement to the world that medical marijuana is a viable option for those who need it.