Transitional medicinal cannabis regulations will be extended by six months to 30 September as a result of COVID-19 to ensure certainty of supply, Health Minister Andrew Little said today.
“The Government is committed to making the system work and continuing access to prescribed medicinal cannabis products for patients who need them,” Minister Little said.
“Two products from one company have been verified under the new regulations. However the Government wants to see multiple suppliers for price competitiveness.
“COVID-19 restrictions have limited the abilities of companies to apply under the regulations, has affected global supply chains and also added challenges to suppliers seeking to have products assessed.
“I am mindful of the risk that wholesalers could suspend imports in advance of the April 1 deadline and this would prevent patients from accessing prescribed medicines.
“By extending the deadline, patients will be still able to access products, while suppliers have the additional time they need to apply to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency for verification.
“The Government remains committed to bringing in the new regulation standards because patients and doctors deserve to know that medicinal cannabis products contain what the ingredient list says, are free from contaminants and are safe to consume.”
The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019 came into effect on 1 April last year. The Regulations set a minimum quality standard for medicinal cannabis ingredients and products, and introduced a licensing regime to enable the establishment of a domestic industry to cultivate, manufacture and supply medicinal cannabis.
The Health Minister will request Her Excellency the Governor-General to sign the regulations extension on March 15.