Medical cannabis reform is spreading all over the globe, and has been for several years with some areas now having better medical cannabis laws than others.
In late 2017, the government in New Zealand announced that it would allow medical cannabis in some instances after rules were crafted.
Unfortunately for most suffering patients, New Zealand’s law has proven to be very limited and took a long time to get off the ground.
New Zealand’s current medical cannabis law first took effect in April 2020. Per the New Zealand Ministry of Health, “Medicinal cannabis products are only available to patients on prescription from a doctor.”
Fortunately for the future of the nation’s cannabis policy, New Zealand recently announced additional funding for cannabis research.
Adding To Current Funding
New Zealand Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor recently announced that the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund is contributing $760,000 to an existing $1.9 million, three-year medical cannabis research program led by Greenlab.
The goal of the research project is ‘to establish evidence-based medical cannabis cultivation practices.’
“This investment will see Greenlab’s researchers carrying out rigorous trials and lab testing at its leased facilities at Lincoln University to ensure a consistently high-quality and effective pharmaceutical product.” stated Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor according to the New Zealand Herald.
As pointed out by the Agriculture Minister, up until this point almost all of New Zealand’s medical cannabis supply has been imported from other countries.
The research project is aimed at boosting domestic production to a point where New Zealand can actually start exporting medical cannabis products to other countries.
Full Legalization Is Better
If it truly takes New Zealand lawmakers and regulators three years to gather research before they dramatically expand the country’s medical cannabis program that will be unacceptable.
More cannabis research is always a good thing, however, there’s already enough research out there to safely conclude that cannabis is medicine and that widespread safe access to it is warranted.
No valid reason exists to keep comprehensive medical cannabis reform from happening as soon as possible in New Zealand.
The best approach to cannabis policy in New Zealand is full legalization, even for patients. Only then will everyone get the access to medicine that they need, and there will be no lists of qualifying conditions that always leave some patients on the outside looking in.