Transitional provisions for medical cannabis expanded

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The transitional provisions for medical cannabis will be extended by six months to September 30, 2021 due to COVID-19, in order to ensure security of supply, says Minister of Health Andrew Little.

“The government is committed to ensuring that the system works and that patients who need them continue to have access to prescribed cannabis medicines,” said Andrew Little.

“Two of a company’s products have been tested against the new regulations. However, the government wants multiple suppliers for price competitiveness.

“COVID-19 restrictions have limited the ability of companies to compete in accordance with the regulations, impacted global supply chains, and added challenges to suppliers seeking product evaluation.

“I am aware of the risk that wholesalers could suspend imports before April 1st and this would prevent patients from accessing prescribed medication.

“By extending the deadline, patients can still access products while suppliers have the additional time they need to apply to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency for review.

“The government remains committed to implementing the new regulatory standards as patients and doctors deserve to know that cannabis medicines contain the ingredients, are free of contamination and are safe to consume,” said Andrew Little.

The 2019 Drug (Medical Cannabis) Abuse Regulation came into effect on April 1st last year. The ordinances set a minimum quality standard for ingredients and products for medicinal cannabis and introduced a licensing system to allow the establishment of a domestic industry for the cultivation, manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis.

The Minister of Health will ask Your Excellency the Governor General to sign the extension on March 15th.

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