Tāmaki-Makaurau based start-up PharmaCann has begun the legal journey to becoming the first company to produce medical cannabis products in Aotearoa. If they’re successful, it could mean medical cannabis products become much cheaper and more accessible in New Zealand.
Under current law, there are two medical cannabis products which can be prescribed by doctors, but both are imported from overseas and the cost is not subsidised by the government. Current users of legal medical cannabis pay $1500 for one month supply.
The laws surrounding medical cannabis are in the process of being reformed. A law decriminalising cannabis use for the terminally ill with less than 12 months left to live has come into place while the government debates further laws to legalise medical cannabis for a wider variety of people.
PharmaCann is working in conjunction with AUT University who are seeking to undertake clinical research into medical cannabis. Both organisations have applied to the Ministry of Health for licences to begin undergoing their trials while the laws are still being changed. PharmaCann founder Chris Fowlie said, ”It means we can greatly accelerate our product development… and for patients, that means access to cannabis-based products in a quicker time frame, and at cheaper price.”