Medical cannabis consultation open: scheme must increase affordability and accessibility
Updated: Aug 6
The government has today released a consultation document on the medical cannabis scheme, with submissions open until 7 August.
"It's great to see this progress and these options presented to New Zealanders for feedback," says Zeacann CEO and co-founder Chris Fowlie.
"We support ways to lower costs and increase the availability of safe and tested cannabis products."
Zeacann supports cultivation and manufacture standards that encourage access more cheaply and quickly.
"Local production and allowing exports will help drive down costs and employ hundreds of Kiwis," said Zeacann COO Thom Hooker.
"Medical cannabis is a high tech industry that fits well with our existing producers of food, wine and natural health products."
"Existing products are made to GMP and are too expensive for most patients," said Mr Fowlie. "It doesn't make sense to just have more of the same."
Allowing a near-pharma standard like GPP, as they do in Canada, would let patients access products sooner, while producers eventually move over to GMP standards.
"This would let producers get revenue, with less upfront investment required," said Mr Hooker.
Zeacann has advocated changes to the prescription process.
"Highly trained medical professionals should not have to ask politicians for approval," said Mr Fowlie, who attended the recent GP Conference in Rotorua.
"The question is whether GPs should be able to prescribe in all circumstances or whether specialists should be involved for certain dosages, conditions or product forms, or whether nurses or other health workers could also dispense in certain circumstances."
Zeacann encourages changes to allow open communications for unapproved cannabis products. Doctors and health workers are calling for more information but current rules are a huge barrier.
Zeacann is an advanced applicant for cultivation and extraction research and has a partnership with Auckland University of Technology to research and develop therapeutic applications for cannabis. This includes:
* Researching and developing a range of cannabis based products included an advanced nano emulsions of cannabidiol to help arthritis and other inflammation, single dose oral gel capsules in a variety of cannabinoid profiles, dose delivery systems and inhaled delivery mechanisms.
* Developing technology-based solutions to better guide doctors and pharmacists through any regulatory process.
* Plant breeding and selection program using local and imported cultivars. * Vocational pathway for students including formal qualifications and developing QA/QC systems and lab processes.
Zeacann is also a co-founder of the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council, with CEO Chris Fowlie a board member of NZMCC.
The Ministry of Health's consultation document is here:
Read Minister of Health David Clark's press release here: